Pre Action Protocol – How has it affected you?

On 1st October 2017 the new “Debt Pre Action Protocol” came into force, changing the way in which formal demands for debts are made from individuals and sole traders.

Instead of the usual 14 days to respond, both types of entities now have 30 days to respond to the demand for payment, building in yet more delay in getting paid.  In addition, the protocol requires other information and documentation to be provided in all cases, including:

  • full details of what the debt relates to, how and when it was incurred, what sort of agreement was it subject to i.e. written or oral.
  • an Information Sheet which explains what the defendant is required to do in order to respond to the demand letter
  • a Reply Form so the Defendant can indicate whether they intend to admit, or defend the claim, or even make a request for time to pay.
  • a Financial Questionnaire which must be sent, so the Defendant may provide details of his income and expenditure

On top of the 30-day response time, a debtor can also ask for a further 30 days to respond they are seeking debt advice.

The intention is to encourage early exchange of information in these cases with the hope that Court proceedings may be avoided. However, we think this will turn in to a bit of a ‘debtor’s charter’ meaning that the savvy debtor can buy months more time to pay by ‘playing the game’.

Unfortunately, under the new regime, if the pre action protocol is not complied with, this could have severe consequences for your claim in either being sanctioned for costs or even worse having your claim struck out. That would mean losing time and money, both in terms of fees and interest.

At Forbes Collect, we have recently been visiting our existing client and providing assistance so they do not fall foul of the new rules. There is clearly some uncertainty as to what the effect of the new rules are.  In some cases, our clients have decided they do not wish to carry out this stage of the process anymore and have decided to pass cases as soon as they become due to us to pursue instead.

If you feel that you need some advice in relation to this or indeed are suffering with unpaid invoices, then maybe we can assist you further.  At Forbes Collect we specialise solely in Commercial Debt Recovery to ensure we maximise our client’s recovery in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.

To speak to our debt collection team about debt recovery for your business contact Forbes Collect on 0800 689 4176 or email us on forbescollect@forbessolicitors.co.uk.

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