Many businesses fall victim to stalling tactics. We have put together some key responses to deflect the best excuses [and the worst] and put your customers back on the path to payment.

Our GRENKE receivables management team are experts in collecting outstanding payments for clients across the UK, we have heard every excuse in the past. Our team work on building strong communications and building a clear understanding of payment delays whether on 30, 60 or 90 day terms.  


The Popular Excuses


  1. We haven’t received / lost the invoice

We email your customer with the invoice immediately. Contact them over the phone to check whether they have received the invoice. If unable to reach them, leave a message with a colleague. Email the customer confirming you called and left a message with the colleague reached. Ask them to pay within a confirmed time period.​


  1. A detail on the invoice is not correct

Double-check the communications with your customer. If the invoice is indeed incorrect, amend it and Email it back immediately, call to check the invoice is correct, and ask them to pay promptly.


  1. We are waiting for payment from a large customer / We can only pay you after our customer pays us

Enquire with your customer when they expect payment from the debtor. You can either negotiate an immediate payment plan or confirm a set date to receive full payment. Confirm that you expect them to honour your payment terms and offered extension.


  1. The invoice has already been paid

Ask your customer for proof of payment, the date the payment was made, and accompanying statement. If missing, likely payment still outstanding, so ask them to pay immediately by bank transfer.


  1. The goods/services were not delivered / The goods/services weren't satisfactory.

Clarify the issues / track down proof of delivery, put together a clear case to determine potential need to offer settlement terms. Confirm the outcome of these investigations in writing. Complete this process as quickly as possible. It is important not get distracted by disputes in achieving the goal of payment.


  1. We have cash flow problems / We are insolvent

Negotiate with your customer on a realistic payment plan that includes an immediate part payment. The payment plan needs to be placed in a contract signed by you and your customer, to ensure they commit to the payment plan.


The More Unusual


We have actually heard of the following excuses. However unusual they become, ensure you take your increase your receivables management, making them aware of their payment terms and deadlines.

  1. My ex-wife ran has run off with our company's credit card.
  2. I lost my glasses and so could not read the invoice.
  3. I fell off my bike and broke both my legs so I could not get to the post box to post the cheque.
  4. I have been ill.


GRENKE are working with UK clients managing their receivables process, professionally delivering payment on their invoices and ensuring a consistent cash flow for their companies. We continue to hear every reason for delay, but our teams work closely to ensure those excuses are addressed and payments are secured.