Late Payment of Commercial Debts
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Excuse 12: Only a day late


Where payment was only a day late, or perhaps only 2 days late. Particularly relevant for 30 day invoices paid on day 31.

Underlying reasons

Customer feels one day late should not get a penalty
Basically, the customer thinks there should be some tolerance rather than being strict on the terms
This really only works where the customer has decided to try and pay the invoice on the last possible day and has missed. This follows from the idea that they must squeeze every possible day of free credit out of the agreement, and so they are in effect playing a game and gambling that they will get the payment in on time. This is not too hard when making a BACS payment, but can easily go wrong if posting or forgetting about bank holidays.
Customer does not believe they have an obligation to adhere to the agreement they have made
Customer may has a fundamental misunderstanding that they don't have to do what was agreed, but that it is fair to do whatever they can get away with and feels aggrieved that they failed to get away with paying late when they usually do (with other suppliers).


  • Well, if it is the first time, a credit can defuse the complaint but the invoice serves to educate the customer that the due date is the due date
  • Explain that the line has to be drawn somewhere. If we gave 31 day terms and someone paid on day 32 they would be only a day late. Wherever the line is drawn there will always be a point that is only a day late, so the problem just moves about. It is sensible to draw the line where we say we will.
  • If a customer has 30 day terms and sends payment on day 30, that means they failed to send payment on each one of the previous 29 days - why? Ask them? If they have a payment system that allows payments in a few days, and so 30 day terms mean they wait for several weeks before doing anything, hence needing a reminder, then clearly they need SHORTER payment terms, so that the original invoice is the only reminder they need and they pay it immediately on receipt to pay within terms. Suggest that!