Top 5 late payment excuses and how to deal with them

Recovering late payments from B2B customers can be a hefty challenge. Discover the top 5 late payment excuses and how to respond to them effectively.




Asian office worker | Atradius




Unfortunately, some businesses make up excuses to explain away delays in settling invoices.

Luckily, the majority of these companies use similar reasons or excuses for falling behind on payments.

Anticipating the common reasons or excuses for late payments may help you develop some tactics to reach payment solutions with your customers.


1.  The payment is on the way

Ask for proof of payment, the date payment was made, who approved payment, etc. If they have not made a payment, they won’t be able to answer your questions.

2.  The person who signs the cheques is away

This is a common excuse around holidays. Find out what provision has been made to sign salary cheques and paying utility bills. Very often, a few signed cheques will have been left to settle important accounts. Put pressure on the person you are dealing with by stressing how important your account is, making them feel they will be going against the wishes of their boss by withholding payment.

3. We’ve lost /never received your invoice – can you send a copy?

Find out if this is the only reason for late payment and offer to fax a copy immediately. If they don’t agree to pay within a couple of days, they are, in effect, admitting that this is a delaying tactic.

4. The computer is down

Ask how often these problems occur and how long faults usually last. If this is a genuine problem, they ought to be willing to send a manual cheque.

5. We are waiting for payment from a large customer

Ask the name and the address of the debtor and when they expect payment.
Your debtor should be able to provide some form of credit with their bank on the security of
this debt. Suggest that they do this and find out how quickly they can arrange it.

Would you like to make use of the time-saving expertise of Atradius Collections ?

Contact us


Related documents

Related content

Amicable Debt Collection


We help you cultivate and retain positive working relationships with your customers by providing non-contentious solutions through our amicable debt collection services.

Outsourcing Accounts Receivable


Receiving payments on time can be challenging. Our outsourcing accounts receivable solution offers support where, when and how you need it.

Insolvency Services


As a global debt collection firm with a worldwide network of lawyers and experienced professionals we are well placed to make claims on your behalf against bankrupt debtors wherever they are located.