Covering Business Credit

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A customer we placed for collection last month paid three days after the agency took over. Now that the debt has been paid, less the agency's fee, the salesperson is pushing on behalf of the customer for open account terms to be re-established. Comments?

Answer: Yes. Our comment is No. Everything we know about this customer is that they could not or would not pay the outstanding debt. The fact that they paid it as soon as the agency was involved indicates that [a] they had the money, [b] they were testing you to see how long they could hold onto it, and [c] the amount owed was not in dispute or they would not have paid it. In this scenario, we would wait at least six months and probably a year before even considering re-establishing open account terms on a limited dollar basis. Even then, we would conduct a thorough investigation to determine if the company in question is creditworthy. Incidentally, in this scenario, it is common for your salesperson to push for open account. Our guess is that both the salesperson and the customer do not expect you to agree to extend open account credit; therefore, this attempt comes under the heading of "nothing ventured, nothing gained."

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