Unpaid invoice – when to take legal action?

You and your team work hard in your business, you deliver your invoice and you are paid! That is the ideal, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, trying to maintain a consistent flow of money into a business can be challenging for business owners and entrepreneurs as a result of unpaid invoices.

According to the IFA magazine, as at 29 December 2023, small businesses in the UK are currently waiting for an average of £7.4 billion in unpaid invoices.

If you have unpaid invoices here are 5 tips to help you:-

  1. How long can an invoice go unpaid for?

First, ensure that, as a minimum, each invoice has the date it was created and the date for payment.

If an invoice is not paid on time, you should follow up swiftly.

The maximum time that you have to get your invoice paid is six years from the date payment was due.  Of course no one wants to wait six years, and waiting such a long period of time is definitely not recommended because if the deadline passes, you will not be able to seek assistance from the court.

  • Payment reminders

Once you have sent your customer your invoice, it is worth diarising to send a polite payment reminder, if your customer does not settle your invoice swiftly.  The invoice may have not been diarised and slipped from your customer’s priority list of things to do.  Or your customer may have delegated the task and its sitting in someone’s “to do” list.

You may wish to send a reminder seven days before your invoice due date and on again on the day the invoice is due for payment.

  • Follow-up calls.

If the invoice remains unpaid, pick up the phone and call your customer. As they say “it is good to talk”.  We are all busy and sometimes as mentioned above the failure to pay can be an oversight or the person simply has not yet made the time to pay.  Your call may be the prompt needed.

  • Refining and tightening office processes and legal documents

If you find that you have numerous unpaid invoices, it may be time to refine and tighten your office processes and legal documents as the two may no longer align.  

  • Taking legal action

You can work with a firm of solicitors to handle the debt recovery process for you.

At Johnson May solicitors, we offer low fixed fees to help our clients with debt recovery.  We are based in Beckenham and London City but we service clients throughout England.

Our debt recovery process follows an approach that champions communication to recover payments swiftly for our clients.

Make a free enquiry

We are debt recovery solicitors in Beckenham and in the City of London.

Call us on 020 8150 7171, email [email protected] or complete our Free Online Enquiry for a
, no-obligation discussion and let us explain your legal rights and

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