Payment deadlines: the business mediator is alarmed by “shocking” practices

As the end of confinement approaches, the business mediator, Pierre Pelouzet, is worried about the tensions on inter-company credit which could slow down the restart. The crisis committee publishes a list of bad practices that have appeared since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

While payment incidents in April declined compared to March, they remain 75% higher compared to 2019. An indicator closely watched by the public authorities who fear a domino effect of late payments on the fabric of suppliers .

It is one of the 600 files that Pierre Pelouzet receives on his desk every week. In a letter dated April 20, General Electric asked all its subcontractors in the Belfort territory to reduce their tariffs by 20% to overcome the crisis. A decrease impossible to absorb for the fabric of 270 suppliers, already affected by the reduction in the activity of the plant. “These practices already existed before the coronavirus crisis, but not on such a scale. Sometimes the crisis can serve as an excuse or a justification ”, deplores the business mediator, whose activity has increased tenfold since the start of confinement.

Established at the beginning of April, the crisis committee, of which Pierre Pelouzet is co-facilitator, made public on Wednesday, at the end of its seventh meeting, a list of bad practices which have been expanding rapidly since the establishment of confinement. There is the sudden and unilateral price drop, as in the case of General Electric, but also other methods that the mediator considers “Shocking”. About thirty cases have been reported to the crisis committee, three quarters of which have been treated. Most remain confidential, but the names of certain large groups (Lafarge, Vinci, Le Printemps) have circulated.

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