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Charging customer for debt owed? Legal?

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(hope I've posted this in the right section, I did look through them all but unsure)

 

The situation in brief is that I run a limited company with a customer who has a debt long overdue (more than a year). Despite numerous attempts, the customer either doesn't reply or makes promises to pay back in instalments that are rarely met.

 

As the customer (a registered but not ltd company) is abroad, it is a much harder process to recover debt, and usually results in them disappearing and not honouring payment for goods already supplied (and sold by them!).

 

In the time we've done business together, the customer has used a number of credit cards I have access to through my secure payment system, one of which was used a few months back for a single instalment payment (one of very few).

 

Given I've tried now for months to get hold of the customer with no success (though they will reply to email addresses I've created posing as a potential customer), do I have any rights to charge the instalment to their credit card without permission? They wouldn't authorise this, but did acknowledge that they would contact me each month to make payment without fail (failed 3 months in a row).

 

Any ideas where I would stand? I naturally don't want to leave someone out of pocket if they are struggling, but as a single company owner relying on the money coming in to pay the bills, why should I suffer.

 

PS - Have gone through the European Small Claims court with another customer a while back and whilst it is easyish to get a court order against them, getting them to pay is a completely different matter, which is why I'm considering this route first...help!

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Personal opinion, take the money owed now and argue the toss later. As you have discovered, a ccj is the easy part and that isn't just Europe.

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Thanks, any more opinions guys? Anyone know the position legally on doing this?

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Most of the large companies seem to just take money and then argue later, though this may be due to their Terms & Conditions allowing this. Did your terms and conditions with this person contain anything like that?

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My t&c's don't state we'll take payment if there is a debt, nor does the communication with the customer, just that they are bound by making payment each month which has been breached.

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If they have had goods or services from you and given you their debit or credit card details, that would be authorisation for payment. Go and get it before it's too late.

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