2014 July: The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress – Charles Kettering
On July 1 2014, new District Court rules came into force replacing previous 2009 rules. These rules change the processes significantly. The main changes are as follows:
- Commencing a claim. The notice of claim procedure has been replaced with a statement of claim and a notice of proceeding.
- Disclosure of documents. Information capsules have gone. Now when a statement of claim is filed, the party commencing the claim must provide a list of the documents that are relied on to the other side and provide a copy within five working days if a copy is requested.
- New procedure available. If the claim is defended but no actual defence is disclosed the other party can apply for summary judgment. This must be done within 10 working days of the defence being filed and is essentially an application asking the court to award judgment because there is no defence to the claim.
One of the motivations behind the new rules is to bring them in line with the High Court Rules. The new District Court Rules follow the same format and layout.
The new rules will come as no surprise to some. The statement of claim procedure is actually a reintroduction of the previous procedure. It was thrown out in 2009 and replaced with the now defunct Notice of Claim procedure. The old adage springs to mind “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
CollectIT’s client (an Accountant) had a pile of files that he had not been paid for and was procrastinating about whether to pursue them or not. He decided he had nothing to lose by sending them in to CollectIT and so forwarded 11 files.
Result: Within the first 3 days one file was paid. By the end of the first week another file had been paid. After CollectIT had been working the files for only 6 weeks, 6 out of the 11 files had been paid and closed. This amounted to $10,500 for the Accountant – definitely worth his while getting CollectIT involved! And because the accountant had terms of trade with each of his clients, using CollectIT’s services has cost him $0!
Of the remaining 5 files, 3 went through court. Judgment was obtained in our clients favour and these debts have been settled in full or the debtor is repaying as per the court order. The other 2 files are still being pursued by CollectIT.
Our client is $15,500 better off and very happy with CollectIT’s services and results.
Have you ever worried about losing clients because you have chased them too hard to pay your invoices? Maybe you don’t mind? Maybe you feel that if they don’t pay your invoices on time that you don’t want them as customers.
The question is, can you afford to lose them? Is your business successful and financially secure to the extent that it doesn’t matter if customers don’t return?
Many creditors CollectIT speak to are anxious to preserve relationships with their clients. They worry that handing their debts over to CollectIT will mean the end of the customer relationship. Many creditors have experienced this first hand when placing debts with other debt collection companies.
At CollectIT, www.collectit.co.nz, we pride ourselves on striking the balance correctly. We aim to find out at the outset how important it is for you that relationships are preserved, and no matter what, we act professionally and courteously at all times in our dealings with debtors.
Sometimes debts are repaid over a long period of time with the agreement of the CollectIT client. By the time the debt is repaid CollectIT feels like they know the debtor just as well as the client CollectIT has been working for!
Below is an example of some of the emails we have received from debtors (names have been deleted in accordance with CollectIT’s confidentiality policy):
“Please find attached receipt of payment made this morning for full and final payment of invoices for…… I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your understanding and professionalism in dealing with me on this matter”.
So you see, here at CollectIT we love your debtors too! This particular debtor owed almost $17,000 and took 7 months to pay it off. Preserving relationships and Debt collecting are not necessarily non-compatible.
Our Master Builder client had built a beautiful new home for his client. When he sent in his final invoice, there was no payment forthcoming. The builder had undertaken a labour-only contract and so was unable to withhold the Code of Compliance pending final payment as the client was organising this herself.
CollectIT became involved. The debtor promised she would pay once the Code of Compliance was received from council in about four weeks.
Four weeks later the debtor would not return phone calls or emails. When eventually contact was made, the debtor was apologetic and promised the money. But as time went on, it was increasingly evident that this debtor had no intention of paying. As a result CollectIT filed documents in the District Court and obtained a court order against the debtor.
This order was completely ignored, so CollectIT enforced it. Our client knew the debtor had a car, so after some investigation work by CollectIT, a distress warrant was prepared and issued and the bailiff was asked to seize her car.
Result: The debtor had a bank cheque for the bailiff when he turned up at her door. CollectIT’s client was paid and very happy with the result.