Show me the Money! (money you owe me goddammit!)
For people who feel that India, and the current government, is not keeping up their systems with today's digital infrastructure.. think again. Here's my experience with the SAMADHAAN portal specially created for micro, small and medium enterprises. This portal allows business owners to file a petition online against other businesses who have defaulted on their payments.
COVID has been tough for many businesses. Many have shut shop, but many have survived and even flourished. Our case/petition was against one such business owner based out of Hyderabad operating a posh retail shop (still operational till date). Goods were supplied three times in 2019. One of the 3 invoices were cleared and two still pending. On email they confirmed that the response was good and that they have already sold all the goods. They promised to clear their dues shortly.
After repeated follow ups it seemed that they were eventually not going to pay up. So we took it on ourselves to register a case on Samadhaan. It as easy to set up a login id and a pretty straightforward way to register a case against an alleged defaulter. We had to upload the relevant documentation and submit the application.
A few weeks passed by and we received an email & a letter at our registered office address stating that our application was accepted and a notice was sent to the respondent to come to an online meeting for reconciliation. For the first meeting we were present, respondent was not. We were asked by the mediating council to submit all relevant documentation on a Rs. 100 stamp paper and physically submit a copy of it in their office (which we did).
Another reconciliation meeting took place and the respondent was again absent. In the third meeting, the respondent had sent their Advocate. He simply stated in front of the council that his client admits the amount is due but still asked me how much principal amount is due. I stated, I'm not going to settle only for principal amount, but I'd want interest on it as well. To which he agreed and gave a confirmation that the entire amount will be bank transferred to us in 7 days.
And they did!! The system works!
Our taking from this is to be persistent and with little effort you can get back your dues. Yes, it takes time. For us it took 2 years from start to finish, but again that was perhaps because of COVID pandemic in 2020 when we applied. If you are a small business, I'd highly recommend the portal.