TLC is an electrical wholesaler and distributor with 30 branches nationwide and an annual turnover of £59 million and has been a Master Club member since 2008. In that time we collected over £240,000 worth of bad debt, formerly placed with a well-known firm of solicitors in Liverpool which they could not collect. TLC utilise full range of debt collection services from no collection no fee debt collection to the issue of county court claims and enforcement of CCJs.
TLC appreciates the speed and efficiency of our debt recovery. For example, in one case we did not give in to unreasonable payment plan requests when there were assets to seize. Through our appointed Enforcement Officer we were able to seize two vehicles belonging to a debtor which were sold at auction in order to recover a debt for £10,500.
Based on 24 county court claims issued and 22 judgments enforced, including legal advice TLC achieved a cost saving of approximately £6,031.
What our client said
We have used Master Collections since 2008 and they have become an integral part of our debt collection process. In particular the experience of Carlo Pegna has been invaluable when dealing with more challenging debtors with whom he has needed to negotiate a settlement. We are pleased with the service that they offer and the results that they have obtained.
Lynda Stevens, Company Accountant, TLC (Southern) Ltd
Cibosano Ltd is an Italian food wholesaler and distributor of food products and wine to restaurants, delicatessens and food outlets in the West End of London and nationwide.
Cibosano switched to a Master Collections Master Club membership from a rival supplier as their legal costs were not included in the subscription and they were frustrated with the speed of legal recoveries.
In the first year of joining Master Club, Master Collections achieved a 100% recovery rate, including debts the previous subscription service provider could not collect.
For example, Master Collections collected a CCJ for £7,600 in half the time the previous solicitor proposed as they wanted to issue bankruptcy proceedings against the debtor. This course of action would have been costly and very time-consuming with no certainty of success.
We advised a much more subtle enforcement option; register a charge against the debtor’s house. We would be able to acquire registration of an Interim Charging Order (ICO)without the debtor knowing. We suspected that as soon as the mortgage lender is notified of the ICO in favour of Cibosano, the mortgage lender would make the debtor aware which would put them under pressure. And that’s what happened. The debtor agreed to pay the CCJ plus costs, interest and court fees just three weeks after registration of the Interim Charging Order.
Trying to make the debtor bankrupt would have cost Cibosano around £2,500 plus VAT for costs, with additional disbursements of £1,540. In contrast there were no costs for making the Charging Order Application and registering the Interim Charging Order, as these were covered by Cibosano's Master Club membership. Furthermore the disbursements were recovered from the debtor. So Master Collections Master Club Membership saved Cibosano £2,500 plus VAT in costs and £1,540 disbursements.
What our client said
We were approached by Master Collections over a year ago to evaluate their services in debt collection. I first thought, it's just another cold call company promoting their services. However, I decided to arrange a meeting with Mr Carlo Pegna. We agreed to a one year trial and, I have to say, that after only few months, we decided to extend the latter term.
They are dedicated and provide an extremely professional service. Our business revolves around Italian speaking customers and this has been a big advantage for us to work with Carlo with his bilingual skills. Dealing in their native language has meant resolving issues in a quicker and efficient way.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Master Collections to any SME business like ours.
Tottucio Castiglione, Director
A multinational data provider that supplies data subject to an annual subscription incorporating an autorenewal clause. The business has an annual turnover of £12 million. Master Club member for four years, in that time we collected over £250,000 of bad debts, incorporating three month or more old debts.
OneSource utilise full range of debt collection services from no collection, no fee debt collection to the issue of county court claims and enforcement of CCJs.
A debtor, a research company, owed £10,746. As a result of no reply to letters or telephone calls we carried out an investigation into the shareholders of the company to discover that the major shareholder is one of the biggest advertising agencies in the world.
Our legal manager Carlo Pegna, who is a qualified legal executive, escalated the matter to the advertising agency. Carlo received a telephone call from a management consultant of the debtor. The consultant expressed his disappointment in getting the major shareholder involved. He challenged liability on grounds that notice of termination was given and offered to pay 25 per cent of the outstanding balance.
Carlo insisted on full settlement because notice of termination was not given as per his client's terms and conditions. The management consultant then said he would have to get approval for settlement of the full balance.
Carlo received an email the day after from the procurement manager making the same arguments as the management consultant the day before. Carlo sent a reply copying the legal manager of the major shareholder, dismissing his arguments demanding 90 per cent of the contract price. The debtor agreed settlement and the client received 90 per cent of the contract price within two days.
What our client said
We have been working with Master Collections for over four years and have found them to be highly professional and responsive in all our dealings, and very successful in collecting our aged debt.
Martin Bromfield, Director of UK and European Clients
Road Haulage firm with an annual turnover of £3 million. Master Club member for one year. Debt collection of outstanding invoices that were two months old with a total value of £44,100 from a building services contractor.
After carrying out preliminary investigations we resolved that the best approach was to threaten the debtor with liquidation because their credit report confirmed a winding up petition was previously issued and dismissed.
In all likelihood the dismissal was the result of settlement of the debt, suggesting the debtor would take the threat of liquidation more seriously than county court proceedings. However on receipt of our Notice of Intent to Liquidate the debtor raised several disputes and a counterclaim.
The matter was passed to Carlo Pegna at Master Collections who dealt with each dispute systematically and in so doing dismissed the debtor’s counterclaim. Despite resolving the disputes the debtor insisted on their counterclaim and issued a county court claim against the client.
The debtor’s claim was based on the same disputes ignoring the fact that they had been resolved by Carlo. The matter was passed to our panel solicitor to defend and raise a counterclaim for the debt. On the strength of Carlo’s dispute resolution the solicitor recovered the full amount, plus costs and interest.
As a result of our discounted city solicitor rates offered to Master Club members Direct Transportation saved £2,000.
What our client said
Master Collections gave us the confidence to proceed with our claim and true to their word provided a first class service from start to finish, with a fantastic result at the end.
Ian Booth, Director
The world's fifth largest accountancy organisation, with more than 1,400 offices in over 154 countries.
BDO as a result of their appointment as administrator for a electrical distributor instructed Master Collections to collect seven aged debts with an average age of three years and combined value of £4500. Master Collections developed a bespoke process in consideration of the difficulties collecting stale debts.
Instructions were received in bulk format electronically and letters of claim sent out subject to BDO's approval. BDO were allocated an experienced account manager that is a Legal Executive who reports at each stage of the process. It became clear after achieving a nil recovery rate from the first letter that there was a need to escalate proceedings.
As a result of the experience and expertise of the account manager Master Collections formulated an effective strategy that achieved a high success rate. In just 3 months Master Collections collected 95% of the debt instructed without the cost and stress of legal proceedings.
What our client said
As Joint Administrators of an electrical distributor we were presented with the remains of a significantly aged debt ledger following a successful collect out by the incumbent invoice discounter. We approached Master Collections and, due to the anticipated difficulties of collecting aged debts, agreed a no collection no fee process.
Despite the ageing of the debts Master Collections were able to achieve a recovery rate of 95%, over a short period of time, representing an excellent return to the Administration estate. The speed and flexibility of the approach taken by Master Collections, coupled with the excellent recovery rate, has provided us, as Insolvency Practitioners, with a relatively risk free and efficient solution to a difficult debtor collection
William Turner, Business Restructuring Director, BDO (UK)
Hiremech supply fork lift trucks and warehouse equipment with an annual turnover of £4 million. Hiremech was owed £4582 by a blue chip company in unpaid rental charges for a battery powered van. As a result of the issue of legal proceedings for the recovery of unpaid rental charges, the blue chip company issued a defence and counterclaim on the basis that the van was not of a satisfactory quality.
The blue chip company instructed solicitors who requested that the matter be allocated to the fast track. Client did not want to run the risk of paying the solicitors costs if they lost and instructed Master Collections to allocate the claim to the small claims track where costs are irrecoverable.
The court set a case management conference to determine allocation where with our help the client successfully had the claim allocated to the small claims track. At the small claims hearing the judge agreed with our submission that the issues surrounding the claim could not be determined without an expert and ordered the appointment of a joint expert much to the disappointment of the blue chip company. The hearing was adjourned and a settlement was reached out of court for the full sum claimed.
What our client said
Hiremech Group have been associated with Master Collections for the past three years. They are a very professionally run organisation, and we use their credit management services when our own credit control department has failed for whatever reason to progress an outstanding debt.
Perhaps more importantly, we quite often during the course of a year seek their advice on legal matters of a commercial nature, whereas previously a solicitors services would have been required; the cost savings for this service alone makes their Master club membership very good value.
Finally it must be said that we greatly appreciate the convenience of being able to get sensible legal advice by picking up the telephone, and talking to a knowledgeable professional.
Roderick Smith, Commercial Director, Hiremech Ltd
Wilcox Enterprises (WEL) are a timber and builders merchant supplying trade accounts. In 2015 WEL invested in Master Club and utilises the full range of debt collection services — Master Club benefits
Our Client referred two debts to Master Collections for collection; one for £3,800 and one for £15,900 - both debts were connected with the same building project, but from two different construction firms. However, upon further investigation it was found that both invoices were owed by the same company which now owed £19,700.
The debtor paid £15,000 and promised to pay the balance within two weeks. This payment was not forthcoming so legal action was taken to recover the balance. The debtor claimed the balance was not owed by them, and tried to pin the debts on another company. However, legal executive Carlo Pegna's eye for detail and expertise ensured a successful outcome for our client.
What our client said
We had been trying to secure a large payment from a client for quite some time with out any luck. The client ignored our calls and correspondence.
I contacted Carlo Pegna of Master Collections with regards to this matter. After providing Carlo with all the information he secured payment promptly and professionally.
Master Collections provides an excellent service and professional expertise. Carlo in particular goes beyond to provide a service that is exceptional.
I will certainly be using Master Collections again if and when the time arises.
Vince Willcox, Director
The biggest independent Select franchise in the country with an annual turnover in excess of £12 million.
Georgian Recruitment Services utilise Master Collection’s dispute resolution to challenge applications to set judgment aside and resolve debtor disputes over their commission. Although they use the services of a well known solicitor in Liverpool should matters be defended or disputed, they are passed to Master Collections because Master Collections offer a more cost effective service.
From time to time the client receives disputes over their introductory fees. Master Collections as part of Master Club membership were asked to review dispute resolution to avoid legal proceedings. As a result Carlo Pegna drafted a template dispute resolution letter for the client to use.
The firm saved £3,360 using Master Collections when compared to the fees charged by a law firm.
What our client said
We have had excellent results with our debt recovery and other challenging legal issues. We have found Carlo’s knowledge and experience to have been invaluable and therefore have no hesitation in recommending Master Collections to any business.
Sarah Bond, Finance Manager, Select Appointments
Goldteam Recruitment have been Master Club members since 2011.
Master Collections were presented with a debt of £2,394 in connection with a disputed retainer for recruitment services. The matter proceeded to a Small Claims Court hearing which we helped Goldteam Recruitment win. The claim was timetabled for one hour. The district judge focused on three key areas:
With Master Collections help Goldteam Recruitment successfully argued that sending six CVs every week was not a term of the contract; the defendant did breach the contract; the defendant did not give notice of termination consistent with the contract. As a result the court awarded Goldteam Recruitment a CCJ for £2,885 including court fees, interest and witness expenses.
It was noted the barrister for the defendant charged £600 whereas the barrister we sourced for our client charged £275, that’s a saving of £325. Furthermore we offset the cost of the barrister against interest and late payment compensation awarded of £179.65, making a bigger saving of £504.65.
What our client said
I have found Master Collections to be fully aware of customer needs, efficient and committed to deliver. Master Collections willingness and personal touch gave me the confidence that they can take this case on and deliver, and in a very short period they did, the outcome was as desired.
We will continue working with Master Collections, their concept, facility, capability and personal touch is certainly great value for money
Umar Ahmed, Director
Surrey Security Service Ltd (Our Client) provides security guards to building developers among other customers.
Master Collections were instructed to collect a three year old debt of £11,000 from a building developer in Scotland (the Developer). Our Client provided the Developer security patrols to building sites located in Guildford.
The Developer responded flippantly to Master Collections letter of claim with the assertion the jurisdiction of Scotland applies and made the following statement :-
Master Collections replied enclosing all emails in connection with the matter none of which explained why the Developer refused to settle their account with Our Client.
Furthermore Master Collections reply discharged Our Client’s onus of proof and denied Our Client agreed to the jurisdiction of Scotland.
Cross Border Claim
The Developer made it clear by implication if Our Client could get a hearing fixed in their local court in England, the Developer would crack and pay.
On that basis we helped Our Client prepare a cross border claim issued in England together with a CPR. 6.34 form Notice of Service out of the jurisdiction where permission of the court is not required.
Application to Contest Jurisdiction
The Developer instructed a top 15 ranked law firm in the UK to apply to contest jurisdiction with the aim of transferring proceedings to Scotland. A heavyweight stepping up to a featherweight you might think.
But Master Collections read past the legalese and big words in the application, frankly it read like a chapter out of Harry Potter laced with fantasy, confident it had no merit we instructed our panel solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis to dismiss the application.
A Predictable Conclusion
Master Collections panel solicitor successfully dismissed the application to contest jurisdiction. The Judge agreed the Developer did not discharge their burden of proof Our Client agreed to the jurisdiction of Scotland.
Although the Developer did not settle shortly after the defeat, they did eventually with a pay out of £17,000 including costs.
Client Costs Saved With Master Club Membership
A reasonably priced solicitor would have charged approximately £865 plus VAT to prepare and issue a complex county court cross border claim form comprising of 53 pages, and approximately £190 plus VAT an hour to instruct and assist the lead solicitor including advice on settlement offers and consideration of witness statements at a cost of £1,520 plus VAT based on an attendance time of 8 hours.
That’s a total saving of £2,385 plus VAT, a greater saving would be made against a City solicitor or other that charges more.
Salcis Sas di Morbidi A & C, (Our Client), a well known meat and dairy producer and distributor in Italy instructed Master Collections to collect 76,550 Euros in connection with an aged debt of 252 days old from an Italian Food Wholesaler in England.
Master Collections assessed the viability of collecting the debt and resolved the most suitable course of action in order to achieve the quickest recovery would be winding up proceedings. Indeed 3 months prior to our instruction a Winding Up Petition was dismissed and we suspected the reason for the dismissal was because the debt pertaining to the same had been paid.
This suggested the debtor had a culture of paying when pushed to the wire. As a result Master Collections lined up their specialist insolvency solicitor ready to issue a Winding Up Petition on a No Win No Fee basis if and when our efforts failed.
Winding Up Petition
It became clear from a telephone conversation Master Collections Legal Manager (the Legal Manager) had with the director of the debtor they would not budge until winding up proceedings are issued.
The Legal Manager told the director ‘keep an eye on The Gazette for an advert giving notice of issue of a winding up petition, but then again there’s no need to because by then the bank will freeze your bank account.’
A Predictable Outcome For Our Client
Master Collections specialist insolvency solicitor issued the Winding Up Petition (the Petition) on a No Win No Fee basis and as soon as the debtor discovered the Petition was issued, they caved in knowing once advertised in The Gazette the bank would freeze their bank account.
As a result the debtor settled the full sum claimed together with costs, interest and late payment compensation on the condition the Petition would not be advertised in The Gazette.
What Our Client Said
We would like to thank Master Collections for the impeccable assistance done in order to obtain our debt recovery. We would like to express our sincere congratulations for the excellent work and support in all the stages of the matter. We all have noticed a great degree of professionalism and we will refer to you in the future for any other debt collection or insolvency matters we may incur in.
Antonio Morbidi, Director, Salcis Sas di Morbidi A. & C
The phrase ‘You can run but you cannot hide’ could not be more appropriate to this case.
Dibs Distribution Ltd, (Our Client), is one of the biggest independent suppliers to Chicken Shops in England and Wales.
On balance the toughest challenge for Our Client is managing Credit Control when shop owners change hands or close.
A Chicken Shop owner (the Owner), sold his shop in South London neglecting to pay Our Client an outstanding balance of £14,000 (that’s a lot of Chicken). In addition the Owner left without a forwarding address.
Trace and Investigate
Master Collections instructed an agent to trace the Owner and carry out an asset investigation. The agent returned with a Wealth Report that not only confirmed where the Owner lives, but also two properties he owns including the house he lives in as well as 3 companies he is a director of including a service station and restaurant.
Issue of Legal Proceedings With Caution
We did not want to take any chances because it was clear from the Owner’s behaviour with Our Client he could not be trusted. As a result Master Collections personally served the Letter of Claim, and later down the line the Claim Form. This avoided the risk of the Owner receiving the documents then on sight of the same returning them in the post with the marking ‘Not known at this address or addressee Gone Away.’
Although the Claim Form was handed to the wife of the Owner, Master Collections helped Our Client make an application to court for an ‘Alternative Method of Service’. Satisfied with the evidence submitted the court ordered the Claim Form duly served. As a result Our Client was able to proceed with enforcement because the Owner did not respond to the Claim Form.
Master Collections decided the most appropriate method of enforcement would be registration of a Charging Order on the Owner’s house (the House).
The court granted an Interim Charging Order for £17,045 (the Order) and as a result of the same we registered a restriction on the Owner’s interest in the House because he owns it jointly with his wife.
After 4 weeks from the date of the Order the Owner settled at £17,524 including costs. The good news for the client is costs were kept to a minimum because enforcement of County Court Judgments, preparation of legal claims and attendance is all inclusive of their Master Club membership.
As a result Our Client received £16,127 including court fees, disbursements, interest and late payment compensation. In consideration of court fees and land registry fees amounting to £1054, Our Client received £15,073 which is £1073 more than what they were initially owed.
It is therefore no surprise Our Client has been a Master Club member for eight years because not only have we collected debts where other debt collectors have failed, also more affordably than solicitors.
A reasonably priced solicitor would have charged approximately £350 plus VAT to prepare and issue a county court claim for £16,079, £650 for a Charging Order application and approximately £190 plus VAT an hour to attend to correspondence with the Owner and their solicitors at a cost of £950 plus VAT in consideration of an attendance time of 5 hours.
That’s a total saving of £1,950 plus VAT, a greater saving would be made against a City solicitor or other that charges more.
What Our Client Said
We were delighted with the outcome in this case and although this took some time to achieve, the costs were kept to a minimum which has not been the case with other debt collection agencies. This demonstrates the benefit of being a member of Master Club.
Not only are costs always under control through membership, but a speedier and more efficient approach is applied in dealing with the minefield that is debt recovery. Ultimately agencies are judged by their success rates and in my view Master Collections score very highly.
Graham Payne, Finance Director, Dibs Distribution Ltd.
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