Oddest excuses for not paying invoices - revealed

Micro-businesses such as contractors are dealing with a barrage of flimsy and fanciful excuses from late and non-paying clients, a study shows.

Sick pets, fake illnesses and a CEO’s “sailing holiday” have all been used as excuses to one-man bands about why their invoices haven’t been paid, found FreeAgent.

Ignorance of IP law played a part in the fob-offs given to 500 of the e-accounting firm’s users; “the photograph you took is of me, so I don’t need to pay you [for it],” tried one client.

Another copied work which was completed for them only to claim they had done it themselves, almost as brazen as the one who created a non-payment clause in a new contract.

Being declared bankrupt was cited and invented too by non-payers, as were the schoolboy excuses of ‘my dog ate your invoice’ ‘my cat is sick’ and ‘I had my tonsils taken out.’

Ed Molyneux, chief executive of FreeAgent, condemned what he said were “flat-out lies” by many clients of single-person businesses.

He advised such small traders: “Send frequent reminder emails, call clients regularly, review any relevant late payment legislation and check what kind of debt recovery or small claims options are available to you”.

Other howlers Molyneux’s firm uncovered from late or non-payers, include:

●        Can I just buy you a pint and call it quits?

●        I have no money left, but you’ll get what you’re owed if you work on my new project. And move with me to Qatar.

●        You didn’t chase me enough for payment.

●       I referred you to a friend, so I thought that would mean you wouldn't charge me.

●        I didn’t end up using the work you produced, so I’m not paying you.

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