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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

The Cheque’s Not In The Post

The largely-irrational thinking that leads many companies to be coy about budgets also extends to payment. It’s seemingly common practice to delay all invoice payments for at least 2 or 3 months, supposedly to improve cashflow and save money while creditors twiddle their thumbs.

Now, obviously it’s inevitable if a company is broke, but otherwise it makes little sense, as any interest saving is outweighed by the hassle involved, any benefit to monthly figures is superficial & temporary, and reputations are damaged. Suppliers feel they have to up their prices when dealing with blood-out-of-a-stone payers, so such companies eventually pay a premium for their behaviour.

I’ve worked on a variety of projects over the years, mostly for small and medium-sized companies. Most cough up really quickly (sometimes within minutes), some take a couple of weeks, and some always spin it out for a few months, but they’ve all paid without too much prompting.

Until now! Yes, after 12 years in business I’ve finally encountered my first ever case of a client flatly refusing to pay for work done. No discussion, no compromise, just no.

It’s a disappointing and potentially expensive milestone, but I guess I knew it’d happen one day, and there’s an element of feeling smugly superior and perversely amused. No, I can’t name names, and yes, I’ll probably be consulting a solicitor…


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