Do you owe someone money? Worse, does someone owe you?
The angst of a debt can be one of the most painful processes to chase. It is all a game; you need to know when to wait and when to attack. Let us walk you through the first few steps.
Let’s say someone owes you money for goods or services you have provided. Say it’s $10,000 for building their fence and they just haven’t paid up. It’s been two months and you haven’t heard a word. Now would be the time to say something.
Start by giving them a call or writing them a letter. Ask them how they’re doing and how the kids are but be sure to remind them of their fantastic new fence and that you’re still expecting payment.
Ask whether they need time, or whether they might prefer to pay you back in installments. If you’re writing a letter, we suggest you make it more straightforward.
Make sure you include how and by when you want to be paid. Make sure you have sent and attached invoices listing exactly how much time you spent on the different elements of your work (painting, leveling the ground etc.) and exactly how much you charged.
From there, see what they say. Court proceedings for debt are simple, however, for smaller amounts (less than $25,000) these should be avoided (for the sake of your own sanity!).
If there’s still no word, you may need to file proceedings in the appropriate court.
These could be:
- the Small Claims Division of the Local Court where the claim is for up to $20,000
- the General Division of the Local Court where the claim is for more than $20,000 and up to $100,000 (or $120,000 in some limited circumstances)
- the District Court or the Supreme Court where the claim is for more than $100,000 (or $120,000 in some limited circumstances)
- the Supreme Court where the claim is for possession under a mortgage.
If the debt remains unpaid, you can prepare, file and serve a Statement of Claim, setting out what is owed and why.
If the Debtor does not file a Defence within 28 days of service of the Statement of Claim, you can enter Judgment against the debtor.
Once Judgment is entered, you can enforce the Judgment a number of ways, such as:
- Writs (seizure of goods),
- Examination Summons; and
- Garnishee Orders.
Find the guide on our website or come and see us!
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