5 Kinds of Debtors: How Can You Get Your Invoice Paid?

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5 min.

With every debt collection case we handle, we contact the debtor and try to find out why the bill hasn’t been paid. Over the years we have seen almost everything, and every case is different. However, there are five types of debtors we see a lot of.

1. The Invisible Man

Letters arrive at empty buildings, e-mails are not delivered, the phone is never answered and the mobile number is going straight to voicemail. The invisible man does everything they can to stay out of the picture. It’s hard to collect from a debtor you can’t find.

With an invisible debtor, we have to fight super powers with super powers. We investigate them in multiple ways, sometimes with the help of a reliable third party. This way, the invisible debtor becomes visible again and we can make them pay their outstanding invoices.

2. Busy Bee

Letters, including registered mail, will arrive at this debtor. The phone is answered too, but you can never seem to get in touch with the debtor. They’re always in a meeting, or on a business trip. You can leave them a message, or wait for them to “return” but you can never get them on the phone.

Our advice: be polite, but stubborn. Don’t let them dismiss you. Take action and don’t wait too long. Often, when a judicial process is initiated, you will suddenly be able get in touch with the right person.

3. The Grouch

This debtor is a real piece of work. After the first warning, the debtor is often hostile and when you speak to them on the phone, they will insist the claim is not justified. They may also claim to have suffered damage, so they are, of course, not going to pay.

It’s not easy, but try to stay friendly and professional with this debtor. Ask for proof of any damage suffered. In most cases this is only a threat and there will turn out to be no evidence at all. A dispute does not need to be taken seriously if there is no evidence, and a judge will certainly not take it seriously.

4. Gold Star Staller

This debtor is amazing at winning time. They are always willing to pay, but in the end they don’t come through. There are vague promises and  payment arrangements made, but the full amount is never paid. This debtor hopes that a significant stall will make you forget the claim and, eventually, leave them alone.

Our advice is to act quickly and communicate clearly to avoid a long, drawn out process. Also, do a little more research. Does the financial data of this debtor make agreeing to a long-term payment agreement seem like a bad idea? Then don’t do it! Demand the invoice be paid within a short period.

5. Kamikaze King

“If you want me to pay now, I’ll have to apply for bankruptcy! Then you will definitely not receive payment!”

According to this debtor, you shouldn’t push too hard because, in the end, you will only hurt yourself. You will have to be very, very patient.

We always ask for proof from the kamikaze debtor.  Commercial laws in the Netherlands allow for outside bankruptcy filings. We can request bankruptcy of the debtors ourselves. Often, the debtor doesn’t want to go bankrupt, and doesn’t plan to, despite their threats. In most cases, the debtor pays in the end to prevent a declaration of bankruptcy.

More information

Do you have a debtor who is hiding or being hostile? Feel free to contact us.  We will gladly help to ensure that your debtor pays.