Can I Reclaim Goods From Customers That Don’t Pay?
Can I Reclaim Goods From a Customer That Does Not Pay?
In the UK, it is a very common issue for individuals to provide goods or services to a customer and not get paid.
This can cause damage to the cash flow of any small business and impact its longevity.
Not only this, but sometimes the owing of money can be so bad that it results in the need for an insolvency practitioner.
No small business owner wants this, so will try everything in their power to recover the goods that are owed.
Recovering a bad debt is just as important as the serial numbers on products or the registration number of an organisation.
Debt recovery in England and Wales has become increasingly more common in recent years.
This has quickly become the most popular method for recovering any form of goods or money that is owed to an individual.
If you have provided goods to a customer and that customer refuses to pay, you need to take action immediately.
Knowing how to recover goods is extremely important, as making the wrong decision could get you in hot water.
If you are in this position you may be asking yourself, “can I reclaim goods from customers that do not pay?”.
There are things you may need to consider before you try to recover any goods that are owed.
Do you know if you are within your rights to just reclaim goods from a customer that does not pay?
You may think so, but as stated in the Sale of Goods Act 1979, it is not as simple as that.
Sale of Goods Act 1979
The Sale of Goods Act 1979 states that once goods have been delivered, the ownership or title to the goods is passed to the customer.
This means that if you try to retrieve the goods yourself, this could be extremely difficult and could land you with legal action against you.
This ownership can also be important where the seller has no right to sell the goods.
Having a customer who has the temerity to fob you off for payment can be a very frustrating situation.
This is especially true if you have provided goods or services in good faith.
The situation can be made even worse if you have been told that you cannot reclaim the goods that you provided.
Can I Reclaim Goods From A Customer That Does Not Pay?
As the goods you have provided no longer belong to you, attempting to recover them yourself could be considered an act of theft.
This could also include trespassing, which could land you with a police record under the theft act.
If you are a tradesman, such as a plumber or an electrician, the goods you have supplied may have been installed.
Uninstalling these, which is a euphemism for “ripping something out”, is treated as criminal damage.
This is regardless of whether it is you or anyone acting on your behalf doing so.
It really is not a good idea to perform any of the above as this could land you in trouble, no matter how frustrating the situation may be.
No matter how bad the situation is, you should never risk breaking the law to try and retrieve money that is owed to you.
If you have a customer that has not paid, then it needs to be dealt with in an amicable and hassle-free manner.
Another factor to consider when attempting to recover goods are the logistics of carrying out the collection.
If the act of recovering those goods could damage them and decrease the value, you should ask yourself if you are acting out of spite or for business reasons.
There are other trading terms that can be implemented in this situation to help with the recovery of goods.
A ‘retention of title’ clause in the contract of sale can be of use in these circumstances.
This monies clause states the ‘title’ only transfers to the customer upon full payment.
In truth, however, this is difficult to enforce and does not guarantee a successful recovery.
If other avenues have already been researched, it may be one of the only plausible options to pursue.
There are many measures that you can put in place to ensure your credit control is stringent.
The savvy move when offering credit or ‘terms’ is to vet your customers before a sale is made.
Most legal advice will explain that clauses should be entered into the terms and conditions of any goods provided.
Passing the problem to a specialist debt collection agency once an impasse has been reached could be the ultimate step to take.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are owed money by a customer that just will not pay, one of your first steps should be to seek professional assistance.
Using A Professional Debt Collection Agency
No matter what type of debt collection scenario you may be in, using a professional agency is the best way forward.
A Debt Collection Agency will guide you through the issue, offering advice throughout on how to best proceed to find a solution.
At Frontline Collections, we are the UK’s leading agency for recovering private debts.
We have the expert knowledge required to be able to successfully collect any goods that have not been paid for.
Since opening in 2005, we have collected millions of pounds worth of debts for our clients.
Some of the benefits of our service include:
- Average 90% recovery rate on undisputed debts.
- Industry low commission rates from as little as 6%.
- Members of The Credit Services Association and UK Debt Collection Bureau.
- Gold preferred supplier with the Independent Schools Association.
- Strategically located offices to provide a nationwide service.
As part of our debt collection service, we are able to deal with debts that are based internationally.
We are careful to ensure that the relationship between you and your customer is not jeopardised in the collections process.
Getting in contact with our team of experts will provide you with peace of mind during what is a stressful situation.
Can I Reclaim Goods From a Customer That Does Not Pay? What Should You Do To Reclaim Goods Not Paid For?
There are measures that you can take before, during and after encountering an issue with non-payment.
If you need to implement different credit control measures to ensure goods will be paid for, this is a positive step.
Do your homework on your customers, put payment procedures in place and above all protect yourself.
If you do not then you could find yourself with a nasty taste in your mouth or even a criminal record.