The Top 5 Excuses that Debtors Use to Avoid Payment

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    top 5 excuses debtors use

    Whether you’ve been in the staffing and recruiting business for more than a decade or you’ve only been doing it for just a year, chances are you’ve encountered at least one client who refuses to pay.

    Adams, Evens, and Ross has been collecting past-due staffing debt for the last 30 years and, believe us when we say, we’ve heard almost, if not all, possible excuses from debtors. Legal discussions are a serious matter but, honestly, the reasons behind not wanting to settle a payment range from creative to just awfully ridiculous.

    To take a break from all the debt-collection tension, we’ve compiled the top 5 best (or worst) excuses that debtors use to not pay our clients.

    # 5. “We are not paying because it was turned over to collections.”

    One quick word to describe this type of reasoning: senseless.

    As a staffing or recruiting business owner, you would not turn over an account to a collections agency if the client paid in the first place, or if you think they have the intention of paying you.

    This reason is simply ridiculous and we’ve certainly shared a good laugh over this excuse.

    # 4. “I’m not paying because your client will not meet with us so we can give him his check.”

    This may not sound as terrible as the last one but if you really think about it, why wouldn’t our client make time for their hard-earned money? Something must be up.

    A debtor might propose a meeting but if the conditions are suspicious, like wanting to meet at midnight in a dark alley, then you’re probably not getting paid.

    Checks can also easily be sent out to business addresses so, we really do not see the logic behind wanting to meet under questionable circumstances.

    # 3. “We will not pay because it is technically not the same person because they passed a certification exam between the presentation and hiring.”

    Unless it is specified otherwise in the contract, the candidate during the presentation will be acknowledged as the same person even after taking a certification. It just doesn’t make sense that improving a skill turns the candidate into an entirely new being.

    # 2. “We do not have to pay because they were not retained by us and they only worked for us for three months.”

    Most of the time, a contract does not specify that a candidate needs to be retained for the recruiting company to get paid. Phrasing plays an extremely important role especially from a legal point of view.

    If the contract does not state anything about retention, then you rightfully deserve payment no matter how long or short the employee stayed in the client’s company.

    # 1. “They only sent over two candidates. One was hired, but only because of time constraints that prevented us from seeing more qualified candidates.”

    We said it above but we’ll say it again. The wordings in your contract are highly important, but more often than not, the number of candidates that are forwarded to a client is not specified in a contract.

    If this is the case, then no matter how many candidates you forward, if the client hires even one of them during the effectiveness of the agreement, you need to get paid.

    How to Avoid the Excuses

    Make sure that you know every part of your contract and every word is carefully selected. Never include complicated words or legal terms that you do not understand.

    You can read about agreements and how you can make sure you know what’s in them in our previous blog.


    In all our years in the staffing and recruiting industry, we’ve learned that there are only two situations where a client wouldn’t want to pay. First, there is a valid legal reason. The second one, which happens more often, is they just want to intimidate you until you get off their back.

    If an attorney reaches out to argue with you, our advice is to hang up the phone to avoid getting caught in a legal gotcha and seek the advice of a collections professional.

    We are here to help you with your collection needs. For more information, book an appointment with one of our Credit & Collection Specialists.

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