How to Respond to Common Late Payment Excuses

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Regardless of the industry that you work in, late payments can be hugely frustrating. When you’re relying on the money to keep your business’ cash flowing, a late payment can cause a lot of stress. Sometimes, a late payment happens due to a genuine reason and can’t be helped. But it’s hard to know when someone is telling the truth.


There are a lot of late payment excuses, many are common amongst debtors and those who are purposely delaying payment. Below, we have shared some of the common late payment excuses that business’ face and we’ve looked at the best ways to respond.



Late Payment Excuses and How to Respond

  • “I didn’t get your invoice” – This is a common one, but it’s an easy excuse to solve. Start by sending a copy of the invoice to them once again, and confirm that they have received it. Even if they genuinely didn’t receive the invoice previously, payment should be made as soon as possible. Highlight your payment terms, which should explain that the payment should be made within a certain number of days of the goods or service being provided. It’s also important to check why the invoice wasn’t received, and confirm that you have the right person’s contact details. This will stop them from giving the same excuse in the future.


  • “There’s a problem with the invoice” – Oftentimes, someone will claim that there’s an issue with the invoice, goods or service, and that’s why the payment is late. If there is a problem, identify the issue and solve it as soon as possible. Confirm that the payment will be made upon resolution. You could also ask for a part payment to cover the cost of any goods or service that they were happy with.


  • “I don’t have the money to pay” – Don’t make the mistake of assuming that this makes it impossible to chase an outstanding payment, as you do have options. Start by finding out when they will be able to pay, and coming to an agreement. For example, they might be able to pay some in a week, and the rest the following week. If they can pay something towards the invoice straight away, ask them to do so, and agree for the rest to be paid at a later date.


  • “I’m waiting for a third party to pay me” – Another excuse is that they are waiting for a third party to pay them, which will give them the ability to pay you. Explain that you still need to be paid on time and in accordance with your payment terms, regardless of any third party payments. If they are adamant that they can’t pay you, try to reach an agreement of a part payment, helping your cash flow until the third party has paid.



Of course, there’s no guarantee that a late payment excuse will eventually lead to a payment, as many debtors try to avoid paying altogether. If this happens, enlist the help of a debt collection agency. At Cobra Financial, we have the tools and techniques needed to make even t

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