Name and shame scheme for late payers will only work if they feel shame

Opinion

Name and shame scheme for late payers will only work if they feel shame

The Forum of Private Business is on the warpath over late payers. It has set up a 'late payment hall of shame' and is encouraging small businesses to provide details anonymously of companies that are late in paying their bills.

Late payment can be a killer for small companies, especially if they are being squeezed in turn by their suppliers to pay their bills more rapidly. At a time when cashflow is king, late payment is a significant drag on their ability to run the business.

The FPB believes that providing small companies with the ability to name and shame late payers anonymously, it can encourage them to speak out against late payers with more confidence.

"We are urging all small suppliers who have suffered to come forward and provide us with evidence that they have been squeezed and we can absolutely guarantee their anonymity," says FPB head of campaigns Jane Bennett.

It's a great idea but we'll have to see just how well small businesses respond to the offer. Even with anonymity, it takes some level of courage (or sheer frustration) to take the step of going public with this stuff. And if they do, will it be enough to force some of the late paying customers to change their ways and cough up more quickly? Some times public exposure isn't enough, especially if people have no shame. Business is business, after all. Anyway, we can but hope.

This was first published in June 2011

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