I need to take action to recover a bad debt, what should I do?

Whilst it’s tempting just to go to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk and issue a claim through Small Claims it’s important that you only do this as a last resort. You need to be able to show the court that you have already taken reasonable steps to get your money – including making a formal request for payment making it clear that you will commence legal action if you don’t receive payment within a reasonable period – usually 7 days.

The claim procedure is straightforward enough but if you’re not used to it then it can be a bit daunting, particularly if the debtor files a defence. Even if you know the procedure it can be simpler and less stressful to pass the debt to solicitors or a collection agency for action.

Direct Route have often been recommended to couriers as the first port of call for debt recovery but there have been mixed reports about their service. Many people report that Thomas Higgins offer a good service and they seem quite open and fair about their pricing. A basic letter before action costs just £2 plus VAT, probably cheaper than doing it yourself. They’ll also collect late payment charges for you.

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