The Check's in the Mail…Honest

August 15, 2008 ( - We've all heard (and perhaps used) the assertion that "the check is in the mail."

Whatever side of the invoicing process you find yourself on, Atradius Collections – which says it has heard just about every excuse when collecting amounts due from debtors of its customers – has not only put together a set of the most common excuses – it has also included a list of “can you believe it” lines.

Some of the classic or more common excuses for not paying invoices include:

  • We haven’t received the invoice
  • Our terms are (30, 60) days
  • We don’t have a payment run until next month
  • There are no check signatories available
  • The check is in the mail/the invoice has already been paid
  • The goods were never delivered or the order was cancelled
  • The goods/services were faulty or not as described
  • The balance is incorrect and we are awaiting a credit note
  • The goods have not been sold/the buyer has not paid for the goods yet — need sale proceeds to be able to pay
  • The debtor is insolvent.

Unusual Excuses

Atradius – a firm that provides trade credit insurance, surety and collections services worldwide, and has a presence in 40 countries – says that, although it happens rarely, “some debtors still manage to surprise even us.”  Some of the more unusual – but actual – excuses:

  • It’s not a valid debt as my vindictive ex-wife ran off with the company credit card
  • I just got back from my luxury holiday, it cost more than I thought so I no longer have the funds to pay
  • I wanted to pay but all the invoices were in my briefcase, which was stolen on the street
  • My wife has been kidnapped, and I need the money to get her back.