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Welcome to our May Commercial Credit Management Q&A Blog

Frequent Credit Management Questions

Question One: We have obtained a Default Judgment against one of our customers, however the customer now wants us to remove the judgment and accept payment in instalments. We would prefer to get paid the full amount immediately. Where do we stand?

Answer: If the debtor pays the full amount of the judgment debt to you within 30 days of the date of the Judgment, they can apply to have the Judgment removed from their record, to do this you will need to confirm to the court you have received payment in ful; and the date the payment was received.

If they wish to pay in instalments that takes them over 30 days from the date of judgment, they can apply to the court to have the judgment marked as satisfied, but it will stay on their record for 6 years.

Question Two: We are an IT support company.  In error, we have missed billing a customer from at the start of our contract with them. We have the signed agreement from them dated before the start of the contract. They are now questioning the back charge but is happy to pay going forward.

Answer: if they have agreed to pay you a monthly fee for your services and you have provided those service from the beginning of the contract, yes you are entitled to payment for the months you haven’t yet invoiced. It may be best to show what you provided during this time, such as anti-virus software, back ups or the details of any issues you have fixed for them, so they can be in no doubt the services was provided during this time.

Question Three: A new customer has asked for a small change to our standard terms and conditions before he will sign the contract. We responded to his request saying we would accept his request with some amendments. Can we assume that our amendment to his request is agreed and therefore all the other terms are also agreed?

Answer: Your amendment to his request is a ‘counter offer’ therefore he needs to accept your amended term. Under common law, silence can not be deemed as acceptance. However, you may be able to show acceptance by conduct. I would suggest you wite to clarify this position. Explain that as he has confirmed he has received all your terms and has only queried one clause, to which you have responded. You will consider he has now accepted all terms with the slight amendment to clause x by conduct the next time he or his team request help under your support contract. Ask him to respond within x days if he doesn’t want to accept your terms before the next support request.  

Question Four: Is following wording adequate to include on our quotes?  “TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF ENGAGEMENT. This quotation is subject to our standard Terms and Conditions of Engagement, which will normally be attached to the pages following this quote. If our Terms and Conditions of Engagement are not attached please ask us to send you a copy.” In case the terms are printed off but they loose or don’t print the pages with the terms on as we understand this can sometimes happen and we want to be clear the onus is on them.  

Answer: It is unusual to say the terms may be missing. I would suggest you say the terms are attached rather than saying they are normally attached.  Is it posable quotes are sent out without terms or are the terms part of your quote template?  If there is a chance that they are not attached, perhaps say something along the lines of

We also take this opportunity to provide our terms and conditions of sale on page 3 of this quote. In the unlikely event our terms are not attached, please inform us immediately so we can forward copies to you by return. 

This way you are making it clear the onus is on the customer to inform you the terms are missing although ideally you should perhaps make sure the terms are always sent, if they are embedded in a .pdf of the quote, make sure you refer to the terms in your actual quote so they are not missed. For example, next to the price quoted use wording “ By accepting this quote, you are also accepting  our terms and conditions of engagement which are in the last 3 pages of this document” .  Therefore, you can demonstrate clearly that the terms were made known to the buyer.

NB Jenny is extremely experienced in contract law, is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management and has successfully assisting clients to obtaining Judgment on disputed debts for the past 35 years. All advice given in blogs and on CMG UK’s website is from her experience and qualifications . This advice is not a substitute for specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.