Sidestepping Billing Discrepancies by Putting Everything in Writing

Michigan Debt Collections, Debt Collections Michigan

How thoroughly do you document transactions with your clients?

Did you know that proper documentation can save you a whole lot of legal trouble?

An old expression, always applicable to billing practices, states, “It isn’t done if it isn’t in writing.” Everything in the billing system must be in writing. This is usually referred to as a paper trail. As a general rule, whoever has the best paper trail wins.

Here’s an example: a customer buys $500 of paper plates. The customer received the $500 shipment, but $100 of the product was damaged. Your contract places risk of loss on the customer, so under the terms of sale, it’s the customer’s responsibility to file a claim with the carrier.

But what if it’s determined that the damage was done before the goods left your warehouse and the carrier isn’t at fault? Now you owe your customer a $100 credit. The credit memo should be issued immediately, should specifically refer to the soiled plates, and should include the amount, be dated, and be promptly entered into your billing system. Both the $500 invoice and the $100 credit memo will appear on the customer’s monthly statement.

Now let’s add a complication. During the same billing period, the customer either took an unearned discount or otherwise failed to pay an invoice in full. For example, a prior shipment of plates for $500 resulted in a check for $400. As with the credit memo for money you’re crediting to your customer’s account, you must promptly prepare and process a debit memo showing that $100 shortage so your customer knows exactly where it stands. Your paperwork remains accurate and organized, and you can document every entry on the customer’s statement of account.

Never include an item on your statement of account that can’t be fully documented. Unexplained items on statements are difficult to impossible to enforce and make your billing system appear disorganized. Your disorganization or lack of documentation will become a huge problem should a customer dispute its balance. As time passes, memories fade and you’ll have to rely on your paper trail.

Let Us Handle Your Michigan Debt Collections

Since 1961, our top-rated lawyers have been dedicated to ethically pursuing the money you’re owed. With offices in Birmingham and Grand Rapids, we handle claims against debtors located in Michigan, even if you are located out of state or out of the country. Let us take on the stress of your Michigan debt collections! Call (248) 645-2440 or submit a contact form for an effective resolution to your collection matters.

Muller, Muller, Richmond, & Harms, P.C

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