12 Oct 2023
by Iain Young MCICM(Grad), Jules Eames FCICM (Grad); PGCE

3 Customer Reasons for non/late payment and how to resolve them

Customers may give you reasons why they can't pay - and sometimes it requires a personal touch from you to bring an outcome where both parties are happy.

3 customer reasons for non/late payment booklet image

When customers give you a reason for non or late payments, remember how important it is to have the built-up relationships and empathy and communication required to work together towards a compromise and maximise your debt collections.

When a customer says they're facing financial hardship

Customers often claim they are facing financial difficulties and cannot make the payment on time.

How to resolve:

  • Be Empathetic. Ask open questions to establish the true extent of their difficulties.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of their financial situation
  • Help where you can. Offer flexible payment arrangements and create a payment plan that works with their financial situation. 
  • Explain the benefits of making progress towards settling the debt and the positive impact it will have on their financial situation in the long run.
  • Signpost to debt advice charities such as StepChange or Citizens Advice.

Disputed Charges or Services

A customer might withhold payment due to a disagreement about charges or the quality of the product/service received.

How to resolve:


  • Take ownership. Investigate the claim and work with therelevant internal teams to verify any issues with the product orservice supplied.
  • Check it out. Collect evidence and reinforce the validity of theclaim against
  • the product or service and reasons for non-payment.
  • When it has gone wrong, apologise. Propose a compromise orsolution that addresses the customer's concerns and thatallows for them to move forward with the payment.

Forgetfulness or Administrative Errors

The customer might have overlooked making payment as intended or have been prevented by an administrative error or technical difficulty.

How to resolve:


  • Keep in contact. Remind regularly via email, SMS or phone calls leading up to the due date
  • Make it clear. Include your T&C’s are shown on the invoice,including the payment due date and accepted payment methods.
  • Automate. Encourage automatic recurring payments to avoid further missed payments.

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