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Dealing with bad debtors

Wednesday 5 January 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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Dealing with bad debtors

Dear Editor, the last two years of Covid-19 have placed huge pressure on small businesses to keep themselves afloat in the face of debtors, theft, poor service, and employees leaving for greener pastures.

Having spoken to many people who are in business here in the Cook Islands, the common theme appears to be, people wanting the service to be provided but then not paying straight away, paying much later, ignoring invoices, or not paying at all or wanting you to drop everything to make them a special case and then still not paying.

I’m the only one with the cojones to write about this so I do this for those businesses who are floundering along on the back of rising debt levels, people not paying, the liars, the cheaters and those who take you for a ride at your expense.

What is one to do? I wrote about this several years ago and a new model for doing business will need to be implemented by businesses if they want to survive. First off, demand 50 per cent upfront before you even provide the service. Add a penalty rate for late payers of between 5 per cent to 10 per cent and write that on your invoices. Keep a list of poor debtors and let close associates know who they are.

The one thing these debtors don’t realise is that we are not their personal banks, we have to pay business overheads, maintenance of our equipment, wages, tax, VAT and other incidental and ongoing business costs. It costs to run a business here and it is not helped by you, debtors not paying. We can’t keep ourselves afloat if debtors don’t pay.

What is happening too often is that to get our money for providing the service, we are forced to work in our businesses rather than work on our businesses to be sustainable and for growth. If you debtors don’t know the difference then you should try to be in business too.

For those who have short term rentals when the going was good, the service was provided, and they had already been paid by their client and guess what? They did not pay, delayed payment, reneged on a payment arrangement, argued over the bill or just ignored it completely. There is a thing called a mouth or email to dispute a service that was provided, but this is never done, they would rather delay or not pay until confronted. Hello, several months later, many come running back to ask if the service is still available and expect the service to be provided. Yeh nah, once burnt twice shy.

So, the outlook for debtors is not going to be pleasant, akama kotou katoatoa, e tano, as a certain person (me) will be doing the rounds to collect what is legally, morally, ethically, and economically owing for the service or services that were provided and not paid for, welcome to 2022.

Te Tuhi Kelly

Progressive Party


Stealing flowers

I am 65 years old. I started working when I was 10 years old – picking strawberries for the princely sum of 10 cents a punnet. I worked weekends and school holidays. I then worked picking beans, my first full-time job was working in a vineyard for $30 weekly. I am and always have been an avid gardener.

I retired earlier this year – a job in horticulture.

What pisses me off is people who come in to my yard and see fit to pick my flowers. No one offers to do anything in return. Most don’t even ask.

My message to them – “Get off your obese, lazy backsides and plant your own flowers, shrubs, trees and produce. It’s good for your well-being, for the planet and you might actually enjoy it!”   

Impatiens

(Name and address supplied)