A debtor always has an answer ready for the question why they do not pay on time. For an employee of the debt collection company, the most important thing is to determine whether the debtor really does not have cash and if they are telling the truth.
The transport services industry does not lack entrepreneurs that are in arrears with payments. They have as many excuses for why they are not paying as businesspeople from other industries. They usually start with blaming someone else: “I cannot pay because I have not received the invoice for transport”; “I would have done it a long time ago but I do not have the necessary documents.” Another category of excuses is blackmail: “Sure, I will repay the money but you have taken my access to the Trans.eu Platform. Because of you, I am unable to repay my debt”; “I will pay but first remove the negative comment on the forum about me.” There are also ridiculous ones. I will not pay because: “I do not have access to the Internet, I cannot log on to Trans” and “The vehicle that transported the load was…messy.”
The research confirms the way debtors explain themselves. The June report commissioned by BIG InfoMonitor (Biuro Informacji Gospodarczej – Economic Information Bureau) clearly shows that the entrepreneurs do not feel guilty about payment backlogs in the company. They believe that “the untimeliness loop results from the untimeliness”: the debtors do not pay because someone did not pay them as well. 50% of the respondents expressed this opinion.
This fact is confirmed by Artur Martynów, Communications Manager at Transcash.eu SA (the owner of the Transinkasso debt collection brand).
“Our debt collectors often hear that the reason for the failure to pay the debts is the lack of payment from the customer. However, when asked to provide documents confirming the reason for the cessation of payments, they are unable to provide the debit note from the sender or the recipient of the goods.”
The data also shows that even 31% of the respondents do not pay bills because their problems with maintaining financial liquidity is simply permanent. (The report shows that this opinion is more often expressed by trading companies.) What is surprising, only 1.5% of the respondents admitted that the crux of the problem was in the poor management of the company.
Debtor or a scammer?
The excuses are sometimes trivial, sometimes dramatic and emotional. The goal of the debtor is to postpone the payment deadline, while the goal of the debt collector is to cause the repayment of debt. That is why every negotiator works according to the following principles: “The debtor always has money.” This principle, developed by Borys Sadowski, founder of the GEKKO debt collection education company, assumes that you need to particularly remember this sentence in the first contact with the counterparty that has failed to pay. By following this principle, you can quickly assess whether you are dealing with a person that is delaying the payment and their goal is to pay as late as possible or with a scammer who does not want to repay the money at all.
Excuses of debtors
Lack of money: I want to but I do not have any.
- short: I am going to pay soon; a temporary lack of funds.
- long: I need more time because I am waiting for the payment for a big contract.
- extreme: seizure by a bailiff; I have to “dig myself out” of the debts.
Complaint: I cannot pay that.
- not this amount: I have paid it partially, there was a deduction.
- where have these costs come from?: I do not accept additional fees.
- damage in transport: I am waiting for the decision of the insurer or for the encumbrance from the customer.
Short dribble: the debtor does not say they have no money and they do not say that they will not pay.
- dribble forward: I will pay soon, I will make a bank transfer in an hour.
- dribble back: I have paid already, the money should appear on your account by tomorrow.
- technical problems dribble: the bank is closed, I do not have access to the Internet, I am on the route.
Provocations and “non-excuses”: an attempt to distract the debt collector.
- attack: insults, aggression, screaming at the debt collector
- changing the subject: “You have not collected any debt for me,” I have been waiting for a month now, I will pay if you collect a debt for me, that is the fault of the government, competitors, regulations, etc.
- confusing: seeking and presenting undocumented allegations, alleged ambiguities regarding the issue.
Regardless of the type of excuses, the most important thing is to get the debtor to declare they will pay their debt. “There are many scenarios and patterns of possible behaviours of a debtor. The negotiator simply cannot let their emotions get a hold of them and must be always aware of the rules of the game the debtor—who, as we know, always has money—tries to draw them into,” concludes Martynów.