DEBTORS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS!
By Andrea Schlack & Robbie Burch
My Mama used to tell me that the truth is a straight line, once spoken it need not be remembered – but a lie is like a circle; it is never ending and can never be forgotten or you risk being exposed as a liar. Well then, if the truth is a line, and a lie is a circle, what the heck are some of these debtor excuses?
While being owed money isn’t a laughing matter, sometimes you just cannot help yourself. Some excuses are not just monumentally funny whoppers and stupid, they also make one wonder about the person who REALLY thinks the excuse is not a joke and it will actually work!
One of my favorite stupid debtor tales was the debtor who was sued by the Railroad for damages to the cross bar. This very foolish deadbeat tried to out-run an on-coming train and swerved to avoid becoming a schmear on the tracks. Now that was not funny, but his imaginative way to defend against the ensuing lawsuit was rib slapping hysterical! He actually filed a counter-claim for his damages stating it was the Railroad’s fault because their train made him late for work every morning. Needless to say he battled the train and the train won! —COLLECTED!
Another snorter was the woman who cried endlessly about her sudden financial down turn. Telling all how the economy destroyed her financially. She said she had absolutely no way to muster the money to pay the Printer —OOPS – she forgot in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and every other very visible social media sites, along with Google Maps, that possibly, her posting pictures of her newly acquired 48 foot cabin cruiser casually parked in her drive way may just dispel her argument of being severely underwater.
When we sent her a life jacket by way of pictures from her Facebook page she became a good sailor, paid her bill and sailed off into the sunset to never be seen or heard from again — What was she thinking? —COLLECTED!
Another favorite was the debtor who insisted his bill was a fraud! He was being billed for electricity provided to his store, a dry cleaners. First he denied ever getting any service, and when proof was provided, he insisted the paperwork was manufactured and the Power company was perpetrating a fraud. When he was presented with a copy of the contract he signed along with a copy of his driver’s license provided as proof of his signature you would think he would have backed down and paid for the services provided –NOPE, the dumb deadbeat surged forward alleging he had NO electrical power in HIS store front —Yep, he was operating those large commercial dryers, washers, and conveyors with candle glow! Guess he really got a charge when he lost his legal battle! COLLECTED!
DEBTORS GREATEST HITS!
“I never got the bill.”
Very common and extremely easy to dispel – Offer to fax or email the bill immediately while they are still on the phone with you. Make sure they stay on the line to confirm it was received. Ask yourself if this is the first time the debtor has used this excuse. When “I never got the bill” becomes a habit it is time to revisit your credit policy for the customer. Why is the customer waiting for you to call before saying the bill wasn’t received?
“The check is in the mail.”
Another oldie but goody because it is impossible to refute. The best response is to ask for the check details, date, amount, check number and where it was mailed to -if they are telling the truth the information will be readily available. Make sure to check the date on the envelope to see if the payment was mailed when they claimed it was or after being confronted, and remember ‘Once is a habit’!
“Someone else handles that.”
The person you are speaking with is basically passing the buck to stall for time, here the best solution is to identify who you are speaking with and whom they claim you need to speak with —GET TITLES!
If this is a common occurrence, get to the boss. While the owner or officer may instruct his or her employees what check to write and when, the actual payment is ultimately the Owner’s responsibility no matter whom he delegates this too.
“I have a dispute.”
Often times a debtor will dispute the bill only when it comes time for payment. This is why having a signed agreement detailing YOUR dispute process before work is performed is important. If the debtor is claiming non-payment due to dispute simply fax the agreement and begin the process of either collecting funds or rectifying the dispute if it is valid.
“We are waiting on payment from our customer.”
Customer’s dependent upon others paying them before paying you are essentially admitting they either don’t have your money, or they won’t pay you because of some other external issues: Realize this poses a risk of non-payment and should be addressed immediately. If the customer is unwilling to deal with the obligation and pay for goods and services provided within a reasonable time frame, turning the debt over to PICB for collections may be the best option. The longer you wait for reinforcement the harder it is to collect.
And now…for fun…here are some of the strangest and funniest Deadbeat excuses.
“I can’t pay because I am indignant (I think they meant “indigent”).
“The money was transferred with a bank transfer some days ago. The bank must have messed up. (When asked to look for proof their computer “crashes.”)
“I am just a small mom & pop business. I can’t pay because an employee embezzled over a million dollars from me in six months!”
“There was a hurricane, tornado, volcano, snow storm, ice storm, hail storm, storm warning, fire, typhoon, tidal wave, earthquake, or “it sprinkled.”
“We’re having trouble with moles, gophers, ground hogs, skunks, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, insects, bugs, snakes, fish, cats, dogs, elephants, scorpions, or “reindeer.”
Regardless of the excuses and games played by slow-pay or no-pay customers, when you remain focused upon recovering what is due, and learning to ask strategic questions that ultimately lead to the truth more often than not this will also get you paid — and sometimes the hard work pays off not just with money but a good chuckle or two.