In the last issue I raised the question posed by newish retailer Michael McCormick, who is stuck with customers who won't pay for newspapers or partworks.
This resulted in feedback ranging from the outrageous to the well-thought-out. Here's a taste.
Subhash Varambhia, who runs Snutch Newsagents in Leicester, suggests: "Stage one, a polite reminder. Stage two, a legal-sounding demand note. If I feel it is a tough nut I add a ficticious name of a solicitor, for example, Roper Associates Solicitors.
"Stage three, I send the same recorded delivery and, after that," he adds, "prepare for Dunkirk!"
Vinod Patel, who runs Lina's in Little Chalfont in Buckinghamshire, has devised a number of forms for his own use. He recommends the
online County Court Services on www.moneyclaimonline.com when customers stray from his dotted line. "They give you a password and you can register free. They charge £30 for the county court claim, which is added on to the customer's bill."
Vinod writes to the awkward customer in the first instance, telling them that if they don't pay within seven days, action will be taken.
He has forms, too, for partworks, which he devised himself. They contain terms and conditions that he acquired long ago from publishers. He displays these terms and conditions in the shop as well, near his cigarette age-warning sign. They say: "In the absence of prior written agreement to the contrary, payment of our charges is required on receipt of our invoice. Failure to make payment within 28 days of the due date will result in the matter being referred to our debt collection agents whose charges will be added to, and payable with, the invoice debt."