Ian Monk: A polite request to clients: pay up

Dear client, thanks so much for the email requesting deferred payment terms on your long outstanding fees and costs.

Ian Monk
Ian Monk

We fully recognise this request does not in any way undermine your requirement to be in contact with us at any hour from any time zone and for our response time never to exceed that of the average 999 call. Nor we do in any way take it as an abuse of the warm, friendly, cheerful and professional relationship that embraces our dealings.

Speaking with all humility, I can say that our team remains thrilled that its base efforts resulted in your various reputation crises being managed away from the damaging eyes of the media.

It is equally understood that the 2,000 per cent return on investment in terms of coverage achieved to fees meets only your minimal requirement.

Your arguments that 'the story walked into the press and on to TV by itself' are undeniable. We are grateful for the part you allowed us to play. However, on the question of payment: what the hell do you think we are? A bank of last resort? The cheapest lenders in town? Did someone tell you that PRO stood for Please Rip-us Off?

Please take your cash-flow problems to darkened places where the sun doesn't shine. I mean the back offices of your own backers and bankers.

If you still can't afford to pay us for the services delivered, then why not sack some of your staff who seem to justify their existence by spending hours on the phone to us with aimless enquiries? Or you could withhold payment from your accountants, lawyers or advertising agency instead. (How did I know they had been paid before us?)

We don't want your cash-flow problems. Sort them out yourselves and pay us now. You would not expect credit from a supermarket whose goods you had bought without the means to pay for them, so why us? The party's over and now it's pay-up time.

Such correspondence should normally remain private and confidential. However, I offer it, tongue only slightly in cheek, to anyone plagued by client debtors who dares to send it. I haven't - yet.

- Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun.

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