1. “We haven’t received the invoice” – Send regular statements of account, with note asking the debtor to contact you if missing individual invoices.

2. “I’m too busy to deal with this now” – Politely ask them to specify when they’ll be free to talk to you, then make sure you call them at this time.

3. “The relevant person is not available” – Ask the debtor to specify when the relevant contact will be available and call again at the time. Or go through to a different department and ask them to transfer you.

4: “The computer is down” – Establish how serious the problem is. If systems are down for a long time, all reputable companies will implement manual payment procedures.

5: “We only pay on original invoices” – This suggests the original has been lost. Send over the fax copy overlaid with the message “This is a bona fide copy of the original”. Sign and date this message to fulfil legal obligations.

6: “Our terms are XX days”– All that matters is what’s on the agreed terms document. Fax them a copy and persist with the terms agreed by the debtor before the goods were supplied.

7: “We don’t have a payment run until next month” – Insist on an alternative form of payment such as a manual payment cheque. For future reference find out when their cheque runs are.

8: “I am unable to raise manual cheques” – Rather than unable to, they mean they can’t be bothered. Persist in requesting one until they relent.

9: “There are no cheque signatories available” – Most businesses require two signatures. If only one is available, ask for one to go ahead and tell them to authorise their bank to pass the cheque with just one signature. If neither’s available, remind them of your own payment terms and conditions.

10: “The cheque is in the post” – Yes, this old chestnut is still in use. However, this excuse is only viable for a limited time period. Call again a couple of days later if the payment does not materialise. Then ask for cheque number, address it was sent to and whether it was sent first or second post.