Edition 166 – Big Business Bad Behaviour

I’m going to stir the pot today and talk about Big Business, it’s bad behaviour and how some of it is not far short of corporate bullying.

A family business, that I’ve had a long association with, has a relationship with a large corporate. My client provides services to this publicly listed company, that in turn, has a government contract. In essence, my client does all the work. The large corporate skims a bit off the top for making a few phone calls and preparing the initial tender.

My client has struggled to collect payment from this large corporate for 6 months. When they were first approached to perform work in a particular region, my client was informed they had to submit all documentation through an online portal. So, they did. Except, the online portal was, basically, in beta testing mode, rolled out too early and, to a large extent, unable to function.

Phone calls, emails, meetings – all of these took place in an effort by my client to expedite the process of them collecting what is rightfully due to them. How much you ask? Close to $250000.

My clients (rightfully) demanded payment and advised they would stop work if they weren’t paid at least something. So, something was what they were paid, but not everything.

Next, they were put through the ringer and asked to provide documentation for works performed – documentation that is not actually required under the terms of certain elements of the work they perform. But, apparently, the boffins at the large corporate weren’t aware of that, yet still requested it.

In the end, the cashflow pressure became too great, and the inability of the large corporate to respond meaningfully and honestly, meant that my client pulled the pin. They’d had enough.

I’m proud of my client. In over 30 years, never have they had to sack a client for non-payment. 

The disorganisation inside the large corporate has meant that a number of family businesses have not been paid by this large corporate, not just my client.

The large corporate has been paid for some of the works that have been undertaken by the Government Department that it has the contract with.  It has signed declarations that it has paid its subcontractors – which it hasn’t!

My guess is that some other works haven’t been paid, because the inefficient, bureaucratic, disorganised ways of the large corporate have prevented them from rendering an invoice for works performed. So, to ensure they don’t lose, they put the heavy on their suppliers, most of whom are family businesses.

The time has come to call out the bad behaviour of big business, for those companies and their directors to be held accountable, and for significant fines to be imposed by regulatory authorities against companies that persist in acting in these unethical ways. 


This Week’s Tip

Don’t put up with this behaviour from any large corporate. Push them for payment you are rightfully due for the work that you honestly performed. It’s amazing what a Statement of Liquidated Claim can do to hurry up the process.

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