Debtlist.com is an electronic register for small to medium-sized enterprises which aims to expose late payers and shame them into payment.
The internet service will allow small companies to carry out searches and check up on payment history before they do business with a company, as well as post details of debtors for others to see.
The service will be a boon to small enterprises, who are particularly vulnerable to late payment and have complained that the 1998 Late Payment Act has failed to reverse slow payment by businesses.
‘It is an internet notice board that gives both creditors and debtors a space to negotiate when contact has broken down’, said managing director Stewart Davies.
‘Unlike credit reference agencies that rely on historical data from panels, Debtlist.com records incidences of real debt as it happens.’
Registration of a debt costs £25 and debtors are contacted and told they have 21-days to pay up or be exposed on-line, with a final reminder sent seven days before the deadline.
‘If they do not respond, then they are posted on the site for 28 days,’ explains Davies.
The online service will also a release a county court claim on the 28th day if the debt has not been paid.
UK businesses are owed as much as £25bn, according to the Forum of Private Business.
Big name companies which have come under fire over their late payment policies with the introduction of the Late Payment Act, which stipulates a 30-day payment period, include Rentokil Initial, which said it would maintain a sixty-day payment period. The episode was particularly embarrassing for Rentokil chairman, Sir Clive Thompson, because he was president of the Confederation of British Industry.
House of Fraser was forced to compromise with suppliers last year after it sought to impose a 75-day payment period.
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