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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years practicing law
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We have a small business and a contract with a major client

Resolved Question:

We have a small business and a contract with a major client outlining that payments to us are late after 15 days; this client is regularly 16 to 30 days or more late with payments every single invoice. Can we up the penalty fees from 5% or add wording to our invoices adding additional fees for repeated late payments? Or do we have to make alterations/addendum to our contract (which they'll NEVER sign)?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Is the current contract signed by both parties?

Is there a penalty for late payments?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thanks for looking at this so quickly! Yes, the contract is signed by both parties (us and the hospital) and the applicable paragraph reads thusly:


"The Business Associate will submit an invoice to the Facility on the 1st and 16th of each month. Invoices must be paid within 15 days. Invoices that are more than 30 days overdue will result in suspension of services until payment is received in full. A 5% late fee will be applied to all overdue invoices."


We are a very small business and they're our only major client so them being late every single two-week period makes us frequently have to pay employees late. We're trying to get a loan so that we can be covered for roughly $20,000 and not be late paying our staff but not having any luck with that in the current climate. (Info that's perhaps not legally important to the issue but that affects us mightily and will soon start costing us employees.)

Thanks again for your help!

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

DearCustomer- Unfortunately you cannot unilaterally alter a signed contract. You have the right to collect the 5% late fee but in order to change the terms the hospital would have to agree to any changes just as you would if the hospital wanted to make a change. This is so typical of large companies being able to get away with late payments and the rest of us have to worry about our credit scores etc. I really have no legal solution to the problem since it is a private contact between two parties.


Of course you can suspend selling to them pursuant to the language in the agreement but that obviously hurts your business even more. My only suggestion is for you to try to talk with the accounts payable office at the hospital and try to work out a speedier method of being paid. They certainly have the money and this is probably just the way they pay the bills.


Dave Kennett

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