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The GDPR Payment Myth

Some unscrupulous companies are using the implementation of GDPR as a way to delay payment. Don’t let them fob you off, says Mike Collins.

Hands up all those whose inbox and postal box is full of items relating to GDPR?

Everybody and anybody has a view on what needs to be done, what needs to be held and what can be done with the information we hold, and it’s all becoming a bit of a fog.

“But what has GDPR got to do with effective debt recovery?” I hear you ask. A lot, when it comes to deciding what actions you can take against your customers. The new regulations have created much confusion as to whether you can continue to write to debtors asking for payment and what information you can include. There is a common misconception that you cannot write to a person now without their consent. This is not necessarily true.

As regular readers will know, we at AccountAssyst and Direct Route are all about education and passing on our knowledge of the industry to others. So, let us take a little time to clear some of the confusion as to what effect GDPR may have on effective invoice recovery.

There are six main ‘bases’ for holding data, these are:

  • Consent
  • Contract
  • Legal obligation
  • Vital interest
  • Public tasks
  • Legitimate interest

In our opinion, the GDPR revisions are best summarised as:

  • You can continue to hold data. It’s just that you can only hold what you need and use. 
  • You must have knowledge of what data you hold, where it came from and why.
  • You must take all necessary steps to protect the data. Remember it’s not your data, you’re just the custodian of it.

With this in mind, it is clear that you can continue to act in a reasonable and responsible manner, you just have to be mindful that you are taking every step to comply with
the revised regulations.

You are entitled to hold the customer’s information because there is a legitimate business interest in existence. Just make sure you only hold the data that you need and use.

You are entitled to chase a customer for the non-payment of an invoice, as there is a contractual agreement in place that allows you to speak and converse with the other party.

Don’t let the rogue debtors put you off with claims that “you cannot hold my data anymore” or, “you can’t write to me without my consent”. Simply explain that you have justification for having the information, that you are taking every necessary step to comply with the regulations (as long as you are) and that you have a contractual right to pursue monies for an unpaid account.

In summary, some people will use thenew regulations as an excuse for delaying. Don’t let them! Invest a little time and effort understanding the regulations and once educated, adopt the mindset of… Great, I’m Definitely not being Put off Recovering my hard earned monies. Always remember, these monies are yours, just ask for it, you deserve it.

For further advice and guidance on not only how the new regulations may affect your credit control procedures but also any discussion with regards to risk and recovery in general, don’t hesitate to contact us, your approved BPMA credit management provider.

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