Pete Loughlin wants to use social media to name and shame bad payers

Various thoughts have been rumbling around my head in recent weeks around social media, communications, and what seems at times to be a slightly warped sense of priorities that we have.  Are we yet using social media for the useful purposes we could be – things that could really improve our lives and our economies? Or is it always doomed to be about pictures of cute baby animals and criticising models or actresses for their thighs (too fat / too skinny / cellulite / fake tan...)

Then this excellent post from Pete Loughlin at Purchasing Insight came along. In it, he mentions the scandal of late payment, something we’ve talked about a number of times in different contexts, but in the main is down to either incompetence from the buying organisation (not good) to deliberate exploitation of often relatively vulnerable and weak suppliers (even worse).

Loughlin talks about a recent case where a web designer took revenge on their customer who wasn’t paying promptly. What that supplier actually did to his late paying client’s site seems to have disappeared from the Internet – whether for legal reasons or because the customer paid, I don’t know!

But Loughlin makes the point that businesses suffering at the hands of late payers could use social media  to redress the balance of power.

“Rather than writing increasing vexed emails – why not simply take the conversation public. A politely worded request to explain their reasons for late payment on twitter could reverberate across the late payer’s industry. And no-one wants their poor payment performance to go viral”.

It’s a great thought.  I guess my only doubt is this - it’s not clear that naming and shaming various firms for extending payment terms recently (such as Sainsbury’s and O2) actually made them change their policy. Firms may judge that not enough people, including their customers, really care about how fairly they treat their suppliers.

But it is certainly worth trying. And here is Loughlin’s final paragraph – a call to arms!

Businesses that deliberately pay their suppliers late as well as those who fail to invest in purchase to pay best practice should absolutely be named and shamed. The culture of late payment should no longer be tolerated and governments should play a more high profile role in encouraging business to arm themselves with the types of tool and technologies they employ so effectively to get money in the door to deal with their suppliers efficiently and with respect.

We’ll follow this up soon with some further thoughts on this issue - and we’ll have perhaps the first ever blog to combine Trip Adviser, Popjustice (the brilliant music website), and the National Health Service all in one piece!

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Voices (4)

  1. Trevor Black:

    Oh no! Not another excuse for the anti-social brigade to engage with their ipads and iphones. Why is is called social media? Anti-social media is more like it. Funny I don’t have communication problems yet manage to turn my phone off in theatres, restaurants or anywhere where I am in company. Breaking off an interesting conversation to take a tweet concerning a late paying supplier is not necessary and would turn me into another moronic e-addict.

  2. Aardvark:

    Why not unleash open data on this? Public sector bodies could be required to add a ‘due date’ column to their published spend-over-£500 data. Larger private companies could be required to publish debtor days in their annual accounts on a standardised basis.

  3. Dan2:

    Or use of the existing confidentiality clause which I presume is in there too..

  4. bitter and twisted:

    Nah. 5 minutes later a ”no public criticism’ type clause gets shoved in all contracts.

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