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Leading UK bathroom supplier enters Forum’s late payment Hall of Shame

A leading UK producer of bathroom products has been entered in to the Forum of Private Business’s late payment ‘Hall of Shame’ after it increased its payment times from 30 to 60 days.

It has also introduced an accumulation period for invoicing which can add up to another 30 days to the process – taking it to as much as 90 days for payments to suppliers to clear.

The Staffordshire-based Bristan Group has written to its suppliers to make them aware of the changes, and to explain why payment could now take much longer depending on the time of the month invoices are received.

The company – one of the country’s largest suppliers of bathroom fittings and supplies – cites changes at its US parent company, Masco, which it says is standardising payment terms across its entire enterprise.

The Forum this week wrote to inform Bristan it is being added to the Hall of Shame, joining other household names including Dell, Argos, United Biscuits and Carlsberg, all of which have been identified previously as slow payers.

The not-for-profit small business support group used the letter to urge Bristan to sign up to the Government’s Prompt Payment Code, where signatories pledge to pay suppliers on time, give them clear guidance and encourage good practice throughout the supply chain.

“Small businesses continue to suffer from the blight of late payment, which devastates cash flow and forces firms into administration,” said the Forum’s Senior Policy Adviser, Phil McCabe.

“Companies like Bristan have a responsibility to pay promptly – failure to do so can mean the whole supply chain seizes up and threatens the viability of smaller firms who rely on steady cash flow.

 “All too often when small suppliers receive a letter like Bristan has sent out, they have no choice but to agree to the new terms however punishing they are, and remain silent. There is little room for bargaining for the fear they will lose business. That fear is even more daunting in the current economic climate.

 “In this case Bristan has increased their terms from 30 to 60 days, but depending on when suppliers submit their invoices, it could be more than 90 days before payment is made. To take what is essentially a quarter of a year to pay out money owed is just not acceptable. Unfortunately, Bristan thoroughly deserves its place in our Hall of Shame.”

 Research carried out by the Forum has shown late payment remains one of the biggest barriers to business in the UK. Recent research carried out by the Forum earlier this year saw more than half of Forum members (51%) cite late payment as a problem. Data from Bacs suggests small businesses are now owed a staggering £33 billion in outstanding invoice payments – a rise of 10% on last year. 

The Late Payment Hall of Shame is part of the Forum’s own campaign to tackle the culture of poor payment in the UK. If you would like to shop a firm which is a slow payer contact:

T:  0845 130 1722

W: www.fpb.org

4th May 2012




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