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Debt collection will go online from March 27 thanks to a Web site aimed at recouping small claims on a pay-as-you go basis. The Credit Protection Association (CPA) will launch a new Web site called getaresult.co.uk that will let smaller businesses grass on late payers. For an advance fee of £22 plus VAT per debt, the CPA will chase the culprits until they squeal. Well, it'll send them a few nasty letters at least. The debt-collecting organisation has invested almost £500,000 in the Web site in the hope of attracting smaller business claimants. In the past, it required customers to pay an upfront annual fee of at least £1,200. The latest service is designed for SMEs chasing a one-off invoice or a series of smaller claims. "With half the UK's small businesses running an average £8,000 overdraft, busy owner-managers need easily implemented strategies for improving credit control," said Ross Clarkson, Credit Protection Association MD. Here are some scary details for the Nation of Shopkeepers: *UK small businesses have a combined overdraft of £4 billion *40 per cent of companies pay their bills at least 15 days late *At any one time, about £20 billion is outstanding in trade debt to SMEs in the UK *Customers logging on to the Web site will lodge their order and pay online. The Credit Protection Association, which claims an 80 per cent success rate in chasing outstanding bills, will do the rest. It will send three letters to the offender, and a solicitor's letter is also included in the fee. *The CPA, founded in 1914, has 2,000 members.® Top excuses not to fall for regarding late payment Waiting for cheque to be signed Lost invoice Cashflow problems Cheque in the post New computer system being installed We pay on 60/90 days not 30 Run out of cheques

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