How Flint Bishop helped a leading telecoms and broadband provider collect 88% of their bad debts without issuing a single court claim.


One of the UK’s largest provider of telecoms and broadband services was looking to improve their B2B debt recovery results.  The company placed a high volume of debts with a panel of debt collection agencies after their internal credit control process had been exhausted.

The company’s internal collection processes were reasonably robust and they also had the power to restrict and disconnect services to non-paying customers.  However, due to the sheer number of business customers, they were still left with a significant volume of bad debts every month.

The new senior credit and finance management team was under pressure to reduce their bad debtors and deliver improved collection results overall.  As part of their improvement initiative, they were already part way through a formal debt recovery tender process when Flint Bishop’s services were recommended to them.

During our initial discussions, the management team liked the idea of involving a law firm in the recovery process at an early stage.  They were keen to prove the concept that communications from a law firm would be more effective with debtors than those from a debt collection agency, so they decided to put Flint Bishop to the test.

The trial

Flint Bishop was given a trial ledger of over 500 very old debts to recover.  These debts remained uncollected even though they had already been through the company’s own credit control and disconnection process, as well as a series of collection ‘placements’ with the company’s incumbent debt collection agencies.

After just four weeks, Flint Bishop had already collected more money than the combined total of recoveries made from all of the previous debt collection agencies placements.  This promising start gave the management team the confidence to refer a further ledger of over 2,000 more recent debts for collection.  Within 24 hours, Flint Bishop had sent out the initial letters before action and then went on to recover more than £5.5m in less than six months.

The client’s expectations were exceeded to such a degree that their formal tender was parked and then later abandoned.  Flint Bishop was appointed on an exclusive basis as the sole UK debt recovery partner for all the client’s high-volume business-to-business debt matters.

Continued success

During the first 12 months of the relationship, the client referred over 8,000 debts for collection.  The dedicated team of legally qualified collectors at Flint Bishop then achieved an impressive recovery rate of 88% without a single court case being issued.

At the first annual review meeting, the client made the following observations when comparing the service and results from Flint Bishop against their previous debt collection agency arrangements:

  • Collections had risen significantly and at an earlier stage.
  • Inbound response rates from solicitor letters had a noticeable increase over those from a debt collection agency as anticipated
  • Positive call outcomes were dramatically improved as our legally qualified collectors were better positioned to manage and overcome any disputes and secure payment.
  • Their cost of collections was reduced as a result of fewer accounts requiring court action.
  • Overall, for every £1.00 spent by the client, Flint Bishop has recovered £12.00.

Additional support with high-value major account disputes

In addition to the high-volume SME debt matters, the company was also looking for a solution to help them resolve high-value complex payment disputes from their major clients.  They needed experienced ‘legal eyes’ to unravel the complex case histories and provide them with a clear view as to the strength of their grounds to pursue and recover the outstanding amounts through the courts.  These cases had been debated internally by the client for some time and were now forming a sizeable part of their aged debt ledger.

Their senior management team felt uncomfortable with the open-ended hourly rates typically charged by law firms when dealing with contentious matters. To assist, Flint Bishop offered to thoroughly review all the relevant case documentation for a small fixed fee, allowing the client to determine fault and ascertain whether credits should be issued or whether the outstanding debt amount should be pursued through a legal route involving court proceedings or mediation.

Where it was deemed that court action was appropriate, Flint Bishop also agreed to handle the matters on a ‘no recovery, no fee’ basis.

This approach has been extremely successful and has allowed the client to significantly reduce their high-value aged debt matters as well as their days sales outstanding.

Client’s own words

“We were looking to go to tender for a new debt recovery provider in order to improve our collections rate. During this period, we engaged in a trial with Flint Bishop who impressed us with their service and collections rate to the point that we parked the tender and appointed them as our sole debt recovery partner for the UK. We have found them an extremely cost-effective solution for debts of all values as their recovery process manages to collect the majority of debts without the need to incur court costs.”

Debt Optimisation Manager

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