Don’t give up on business debt
Businesses in the East Midlands should not give up on reclaiming debts when so many options for recouping the money are available, says the UK’s leading High Court Enforcement agency, Sherforce.

Every year, Sherforce recoups millions of pounds owed to organisations ranging from big blue chips to SMEs and from local authorities to credit managers and lending institutions.

However, Chief Executive Claire Sandbrook says most companies are totally unaware of how cheap and easy it is to recoup money or property owed and instead will let a bad debt go, rather than fight to get back what’s rightfully theirs.

“Taking court action to recover debt can be a terrifying thought. People expect it to be time consuming and expensive. But the reality is that an organisation like Sherforce can act on High Court judgments, as well as County Court warrants for over £5,000, and the outlay is minimal. It?s the debtor who ends up paying the costs.”

A recent high profile success for Sherforce involves the Hustler Hollywood sex chain, which has stores in Birmingham and London. A supplier who was owed tens of thousands of pounds obtained a High Court writ, which led to Sherforce clearing the shelves of all sex toys and clothing, receiving £35,000 pounds for the items at auction.

Other items seized over the years include railway carriages, yachts and fast cars – although the owners of such items do tend to pay up, just in time.

Certain times of year are also good for getting money owed – particularly when the tills are jingling. “During the sales, commercial income is at an annual high, particularly for retailers, restaurants, pubs, clubs and hotels; therefore it is a perfect time for businesses to take action against those with outstanding debts,” added Mrs Sandbrook.

David Merrygold, corporate recovery partner at leading accountants and business advisers PKF (UK) LLP, confirms this advice. “The Department of Trade and Industry statistics shows that companies are most likely to go into liquidation during or after the Christmas period, ie now. It is therefore wise to collect debts while they are achieving higher sales and before they go under.”

The latest debt survey, undertaken by the Credit Management Research Centre at the University of Leeds, found that the average amount of debt passed to High Court enforcement agencies now exceeds £5 billion per annum; a 70% rise since the survey was last undertaken in 2001.

Mrs Sandbrook added: “With an increase in companies involved in commercial debt disputes, the action taken must be lawful and appropriate to the debtors’ situation. Sherforce works alongside businesses to achieve effective solutions, and our track record demonstrates we get excellent results.”

Clients for Sherforce’s legal and financial services include local authorities, government departments, landowners, landlords, commercial property agents, businesses, lending institutions, law firms, accountants, IFAs, insolvency practitioners, utility companies, credit managers and individual claimants. The company also works closely with debtors and courts.

Sherforce is part of Shergroup which employs 94 people in Colchester, London, Leeds, and Delhi, 40 of whom are high court enforcement officers. This makes it the largest agency in the UK, handling 40 per cent of the market’s workload. It is the only enforcement firm in the top 200 law firms, and is the sixth oldest law firm in the UK, dating back to 1780.

To contact Sherforce, please call 01132 855 979.

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