Debt Collection FAQs
We accept B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) debts. We are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and proud members of the Credit Services Association.
Our minimum threshold is £1,000.00 and this can be made up by a number of invoices.
For starters, the invoice should be ‘overdue’ and that is subject to your payment terms. Typically, this is 30 days from invoice date but could be upon presentation, 7 days, 14 days, 30 days… An invoice becomes overdue the day after it should have been paid. If you do not have payment terms on your invoice/s then the default position is 30 days from the date of the invoice.
Yes, legally a debt can be enforced up to 6 years from date of invoice. If a part payment is made, then the 6 years starts again from the last payment date. Additionally, if you have written admission within the 6-year period then the 6 years restarts from the admission date. We can even try to collect debts that you have written off internally subject to them being within the 6 year period. Having said that, the sooner you start the collection process the better. Our advice is to not leave it a second longer than it needs to be. Better still, why not send your customer a polite reminder 7 days before it is due to ensure payment is on time?
Yes but it depends on the dispute and if it is valid or not. Sometimes a dispute can just be a delay tactic and it all depends on what can be evidenced. Equally there may be a partially valid dispute and therefore we may be able to negotiate a mutually acceptable settlement without the need of legal action however that requires both parties to be willing to come to a settlement with the other side. We will guide you through this process.
Unfortunately, there is little we can do to recover your debt. Your first port of call should be to establish if the event has actually taken place. If so, you will need to contact the Official Receiver, Trustee or Liquidator to submit your proof of debt which in turn may yield a return. In the event that the company has been dissolved then a quick search of Companies House should be able to verify this. If they are in the process of doing so, then you can request that the process is suspended until such time the company has paid its creditors. You will need to evidence that you have actively been chasing them within the last 6 months. We can help with this.
This is dependent upon your debtor and whether or not they engage with us. Typically, by the end of a 3-4 week period we will know what efforts will need to be done to try to recover your debt. It may be that further action is required i.e. legal or insolvency action and therefore the length of time will be determined by the course of action chosen but also outside factors such as the courts.
We work on a No Collection, No Commission basis which means that we only charge our commission on monies recovered. Our commission rate starts from 5% and depends on various factors such as age, type, size and volume of debts. We try to be as competitive as possible. We do not charge any upfront fees* or ask you to sign any onerous contracts. You can use us on an ad-hoc basis without any obligation. By not charging upfront it means we are incentivised (within the law and our regulators) to try to collect the debt on your behalf, so ask yourself the question why, if someone else is asking you to part with money upfront. Be mindful of No Win, No Fee marketing. This insinuates that no fee will be payable in the event of non-collection, however it also insinuates no fee is payable whatsoever in the event of legal action and therefore begs the question ‘what action will actually be taken’? Finally, what are the Fees on a Win scenario? At Athena Collections we are totally transparent with our charges. Please also see question below ‘Are there any hidden charges?’ For a detailed explanation about what our costs are likely to be please see our article 'What is the commission rate for collecting outstanding debts?' *A one off Small Debt Handling Fee is applied on debts less than £1,000.00 to cover administration costs.
*No. In the event we are not successful during the pre-litigation stage we will report back to you and provide various options, for example, to write off the debt or take some kind of legal action. We will quote the costs to you on a case-by-case basis and, subject to your agreement, we will then issue you with a proforma invoice and instruct our solicitors upon receipt of your payment. In essence the decision whether to speculate or not is down to you, all we can do is present you with the information so you can make an informed decision and help you through that process. Please rest assured that if we feel your case has little merit of recovery then we will advise to write off the debt. Ultimately, we do not want you to throw good money after bad and we want you to have the confidence in us so we may form a long-term relationship. *A one off Small Debt Handling Fee is applied on debts less than £1,000.00 to cover administration costs.
On B2C debts, we cannot add our costs to the debt unless there is a clause in your Terms and Conditions or contract which allows us to do so. If you haven’t got a clause already then we recommend you insert one as soon as possible. On B2B debts, we can add our costs either by way of a contractual clause or in accordance with the Late Payment Legislation. Our preference is to rely on a contractual term to avoid any ambiguity. For a detailed explanation about whether our costs can be added to the debt please see our article 'Can Debt Collection Costs be added to the debt?'
Same rule applies as with costs i.e. on B2C debts not unless there is specific provision to do so within a contract or Terms and Conditions. On B2B debts you can claim either contractual (that can be anything providing it is deemed reasonable) or statutory interest. If you have a contractual clause then this must be used. For B2B debts, if your contractual interest rate is say 3% per annum, then it makes sense (unless there is any other reason) to either remove your contractual clause or amend it to mirror the statutory rate of 8% plus Bank of England base rate per annum. Interest is typically calculated on a daily basis. We will work this out for you. For a detailed explanation about whether our costs can be added to the debt please see our article 'Can Interest be Added to the Debt?'
Technically speaking yes. Our engagement is with you and therefore our costs are your costs. In essence we are recovering your costs if we are permitted to add these to the debt. If we are entitled to add our costs to the debt, then we will do our utmost to collect our costs from your debtor but in some instances, we may not be able to do so and therefore you will need to make an informed decision whether or not to pursue these. You are legally entitled to your costs either contractually or by statute law. If we are not entitled to add our costs to the debt, then our commission fee will be calculated on the amount recovered. For a detailed explanation about our costs please see our article 'Do we still have to pay debt collection costs if the debtor only pays the principal sum?'
Yes, whilst we are not a law firm, we have partnerships with several law firms who we can instruct on your behalf. Think of us as your in-house expert to guide you through this process.
This depends on what action is taken. Please also see question ‘Are there any hidden charges?’
Obviously, our main priority is to collect your debt but we will always remain professional and try to resolve matters on amicable terms. Ultimately, if you have to resort to passing the account to us then it begs the question do you want to retain them as a client? If you are looking for a softer approach, then we can use our alternative trading style, Athena Receivables Management, which ultimately acts like an outsourced credit control function with the ultimate objective to recover your debt but at the same time trying to keep the relationship intact. If the relationship is already broken down, then we would always recommend our main brand Athena Collections.
We do not charge for our time by the hour. We will happily spend as much time as we need with you to understand your situation and requirements. When and only when the time is right will we recommend instructing our solicitors so we can maximise our efficiency and minimise costs to you. Four our detailed article about whether you should use a Debt Collection Agency or a Solicitors Law Firm please click on the link.
It is a bit like comparing apples and pears. The two are totally different but equally complement each other. It just depends on what your needs are. For a detailed explanation about whether to use a Debt Collection Agency or High Court Enforcement Officers, please see our article 'High Court Enforcement Officers versus Debt Collection Agency' OR click on the link to see What is a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) and when can you use a HCEO?
The two are slightly different. No Win, No Fee insinuates that you will not pay a penny unless a recovery is made however the caveat to that is that these companies tend to charge higher commission rates. Whereas No Collection, No Commission means no commission will be charged unless a recovery is made however if further action is required then there will be costs associated, this allows the company to charge a more competitive commission rate. For a detailed explanation about the above, please see our article 'No Collection, No Commission versus No Win, No Fee'
Please see our article explaining What is a County Court Judgment (CCJ) and Options for Enforcement?
Please see our article about the Top 3 Debt Collection Agencies according to Trustpilot
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