What if your client has a dispute?
The Act requires a specific process to be followed by a client if they wish to dispute some or all of a Payment Claim. They cannot hold back all payment because of one small issue. They must issue what's called a Payment Schedule in writing if they have a dispute - and they must issue it within a defined period of time.
If they do not issue the written Payment Schedule, then you can collect payment in full. This is because the Act has a 'pay now, argue later' regime.
The normal time limit for replying with a Payment Schedule is 20 working days (or 5 working days if you use the Terms and Conditions example below on your quotes).
If a Payment Schedule is issued by your client in time, they can only hold back payment for the part of the Payment Claim they are disputing. The rest of the payment claim must be paid.
If in doubt - re-issue your unpaid invoice as a Payment Claim.
Quote Terms and Conditions
Your quote is a contractual document. If it has terms and conditions that focus on you getting paid, then those terms will form part of your contract.
A contract can be written, verbal or partly written and partly verbal. In the absence of a formal written contract then often your quote is the only written existence of the contract.
We have provided an example Terms and Conditions for you to use on your quote. These are the basic terms needed to help you get paid. Sure you can have many more terms but likely those will be 'nice to haves' rather than being purely focused on getting paid.
Actions you can take right now:
- Update your invoice template to be a Payment Claim, see example Payment Claim
- Once you have updated your Payment Claims email us a copy for a free review, just to ensure you're meeting all the requirements. Email us at email@example.com
- Re-send your new Payment Claim to clients for any unpaid debts (email is best as it shows a date sent)
- Update your Quote Terms and Conditions using the example provided
- If you have now a valid, expired Payment Claim (i.e. not paid within the required time frame) find out more about STEP 2 and how we use a Letter of Demand these to get almost all remaining debts paid.