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  1. Introduction
    • For many businesses, getting customers is only one piece of the puzzle. Getting paid for the work performed can become quite a significant issue for businesses.
    • Through our in-depth knowledge of debt recovery and various court procedures, we can help you to develop a recovery plan to ensure you receive the money you are owed.
  2. Trading Terms and Invoices
    • Trading terms set out the rights and obligations agreed by both parties when entering into an agreement to provide goods or services. Should you ever need to initiate legal action to recover an unpaid invoice the trading terms will provide the basis for your claim of breach of contractual terms. Therefore, it is vital to have legally binding and clear terms agreed to by both parties in order for you to enforce the contract.
    • There is a range of things that will need to be covered in your terms of trade. These may include, but are not limited to:
      • definitions for key terms including Customer, Supplier, Goods, Services and Price;
      • clearly stating the price and on what basis payment should be made, such as prior to or after delivery of goods/services;
      • costs; and
      • dispute resolution process.
    • It may also be imperative to include a guarantee or indemnity. This will provide a level of security in the event one party fails to undertake their obligations under the agreement.
    • Depending on the type of business, agreement, and industry, there may also be a range of legislation to be adhered to. The trading terms will need to be provided to each party you deal with prior to the transaction. Generally, they will be provided along with the quote or purchase order.
    • In addition to having solid trading terms, it is also important to ensure you are issuing clear, valid invoices. These will need to comply with GST laws, amongst other things. Should a dispute arise, your trading terms and invoices will be vital in demonstrating your claim.
  1. Debt Recovery
    • The process for debt recovery begins when an invoice becomes outstanding, and the debtor has failed to make payment. Generally, the first step will be to issue a letter of demand setting out the debt owed and the time frame for repayment before any further action is taken.
    • If the debtor is not cooperative (either paying the debt in full or entering into a payment plan), the next step is to initiate proceedings. The cost and process or this will be dependent on the amount of the debt owed:
      • if the debt is under $10,000, a Minor Case Claim can be brought in the Magistrates Court. A lawyer cannot act in these claims unless a court grants permission, however we can provide assistance with the preparation and lodgement of various Court forms;
      • if the debt is between $10,000 and $75,000, a General Procedure Claim can be lodged with the Magistrates Court. In all claims above $10,000 we can prepare your claim and represent you in the matter;
      • if the debt is between $75,000 and $750,000 a claim may be brought in the District Court; and
      • where the debt exceeds $750,000 the claim will be heard in the Supreme Court.
    • There may be some instances where the claim may need to be heard in a different court, such as the Federal Court, but we can advise you on that if required.
    • Following the initiation of proceedings, generally one of three things will occur:
      • where the debtor fails to respond to the claim, the Court will award default judgment upon your application. This is where judgment is given in your favour without a trial;
      • a debtor may respond by admitting to the claim and offering to pay the debt; or
      • a debtor denies the claim which leads to further proceedings to either prove or disprove the existence of the debt. If they have no real defence, you may be able to apply for summary judgment.