E-invoicing to the rescue: customers extend their payment terms [COLUMN]

January 27, 2012  |  Electronic Invoicing, Legal, Payment

So you decided to buy a product or service that you really really need? What do you do? You contact your supplier and soon after you buy the stuff you need. And as you come to agreement with the supplier you sign a contract that has some (and sometimes: a lot of) terms and conditions.

And what is one of those key conditions? Exactly: “PAYMENT”. You agree to suppliers payment conditions. So these payment conditions are part of the contract. Easy, right? Nope!

Because, what do you do when you receive the invoice from this supplier that serviced you all the way to the end? You single-handedly changed the contract! WTF? How? Well by simply deciding that you now suddenly don’t agree to the payment term you both had agreed to and delay payment for another 30 or 60 or 90 days. Sounds all too familiar?

And here comes the best part: you don’t even inform your supplier that you, on your own, decided to change the terms to your favour. In fact, he won’t learn about your little legal twist until he sends you a reminder that his invoice wasn’t paid within the agreed time. But more probable: when he calls you after quite a few reminders…..

I know it is naive: but why are we doing this? It causes trouble from both a legal perspective as well from a relational point of view. If you don’t have the money, why still buy and shift the burden to your supplier?

  • Can e-invoicing come to the rescue an help me to prevent my suppliers from extending their payments terms?
  • Or should I just set up a different business model?
  • Or should I just quit with customers that are reluctant to pay.

What is your opinion?

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