Debt recovery of overdue debts
The ATA provides Members assistance with recovery of overdue debts.
ATA Letter of Demand for debts in excess of $250.00
This service is considered by Members' to be a valuable tool with many delivered a favourable resolution. Whilst for others the process has either expedited the recovery process or enabled them to assess any appropriate action thereafter.
Your checklist to proceed...
1. You are a current Member of the Australian Trainers' Association.
2. The debt relates to horse training.
3. The debt for the Owner is in excess $250.00.
4. Debt is not against another licensed Trainer.
5. Contact the ATA Head Office to discuss the matter before providing the following together with other details that may be required.
6. Debt Recovery Assistance Fee of $25.00 per debtor, payable by credit card prior to issue of initial letter.
What you need to provide to the ATA?
1. Name & address of the Debtor/Owner.
2. Name of horse(s) concerning the debt.
3. Percentage of share in horse(s).
4. Total amount outstanding of Owner share(s).
5. Invoices itemising the total outstanding.
6. Copy of your Terms & Conditions if debt incurred up to 31 July 2017.
7. Copy of your Training Agreement & Fees Notice if debt incurred from 1 August 2017.
How to lodge all details with the ATA?
1. Post - Australian Trainers' Association
Level 1, 400 Epsom Road
Flemington Vic 3031
2. Facsimile - (03) 9372 1699
3. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens next?
1. The information received from you will be assessed to determine if the requirements of the checklist are in order and if ATA is able to proceed with your instruction.
2. ATA issues a Letter of Demand to the debtor printed on ATA letterhead.
3. ATA provides you with a copy of the Letter of Demand.
4. The Debtor is provided 14 days notice to either pay the debt or contact the ATA office.
5. If ATA receives full payment, it will be forwarded to you immediately and the file is considered closed.
6. If ATA receives part payment, it will be forwarded to you immediately along with any other details to hand, and ATA will contact you to discuss the matter further.
(Please note: It is important to keep the ATA notified of any payment and/or further contact made by the debtor directly with the Trainer in relation to the debt).
7. If no payment is received a Second Notice may then be prepared and issued to the debtor giving them a further 7 days to settle the outstanding account.
9. Should the debt remain outstanding you may consider the option to pursue the matter further with Australian Receivables Limited (ARL).
*** There is a one-off $25.00 Debt Recovery Assistance Fee per debtor, payable by credit card prior to issue of initial letter for the services provided by the ATA up to this stage.
Australian Receivables Limited (ARL)
The ATA utilises Debt Recovery services provided by ARL and has negotiated reduced rates with ARL for Members. There is no obligation for Members to utilise the services of ARL and may consider other service providers if so desired.
If a Member decides to pursue debt recovery through ARL they need to first contact the ATA Head Office. The roll of the ATA from this point is to introduce the Member to ARL which ultimately provides access to the reduced rates mentioned above.
The ATA encourages the Member to communicate directly with ARL once the Member has entered into an arrangement with ARL. The ATA is pleased to discuss the progress of debt recovery proceedings with a Member and assist with general enquires where possible. However, any advice provided by ATA should not be relied upon as legal advice and is only of a general nature.
Any arrangement entered into with ARL will be directly between the Member and ARL. Therefore, ATA is neither party to nor a beneficiary of such arrangement or services provided by ARL.
Consultation and general advice with outstanding debts
Handling the collection of a debt is both time consuming and costly to any business. In fact one is often faced with the dilemma of debt versus the cost of any recovery proceedings. The ATA handles many enquiries from Trainers and is well versed on the various scenarios impacting them and the most likely outcome. ARL has dealt with various cases that have required further action beyond the ATA Letter of Demand.
Generally in the Training Industry many horses are divided into individual ownership shares or owned by a syndicate. In either case a Manager is nominated although that does not necessarily assure that all accounts for a horse are guaranteed from the ownership shareholders. Whilst on the other hand it may be an outstanding debt from one particular Debtor/Owner that holds shares in many horses within your business that is having an adverse effect on your overall cashflow.
There are many instances where Trainers are faced with difficulties:
- Collection proceedings may result in the Trainer losing the horse and possibly other horses whether fully owned or part-owned by the Debtor within their establishment.
- Taking appropriate recovery action against a part-owner in a horse may impact on other part-owners that are within terms. This in turn may result in the horse being transferred away from the Trainer should the action have an adverse effect on the horse.
- The Trainer is also a part-owner of a horse with proceedings against another part-owner.
Why account itemisation is important?
Often many disputes arise and at times result in difficulties with debt collection proceedings through inadequate account itemisation. There is no doubting the number of transactions that a Trainer deals with whilst a horse is in their care. There is no limit to the amount of itemisation that may be recorded or relevant for that matter. That is a decision entirely up to each Trainer to consider. However, we have listed some common items which includes without limitation:
- Date relating to a charge or event.
- Quantity & rate of charge.
- Location where charge/event occurred.
- Origin & destinations for floating/travel.
- Daily fees - Training / Agistment / Stabling etc.
- Race meeting expense itemisation.
- Special Trainer services provided.
- Third party services provided.
- Special products/saddlery purchased.
- Percentage of ownership.
- Amount due based on Owner share.
- Amount overdue or 90/60/30 days.
- Receipt of any payments.
- Invoice or Tax Invoice or Statement.
- Business Name & address.
- Owner Name & address.
- Business ACN & ABN. (if applicable)
- Goods & Services Tax.
- Training Agreement & Fees Notice.
Trainer and Owner Reforms (TOR)
The enduring issue of Owner related training debt that has for so long plagued the training industry, has finally been addressed by Racing Australia (RA) and Principal Racing Authorities (PRA’s) with the introduction of wide ranging reforms from 1 August 2017.
The Trainer & Owner Reforms, or TOR, one of the most significant reforms in Australian racing in modern times, will dramatically change the relationship between two key stakeholders - Owners and Trainers.
The Australian Trainers’ Association has long been an advocate for reform in this area, arguing Trainers deserve greater protections than have historically existed around financial security within the Trainer/Owner relationship. After many years of lobbying, we are delighted our efforts have realised an outcome of substance.
The Trainer & Owner Reforms, which includes a prescribed process for the Trainer and Owner to engage contractually, standardised documents and agreements for use by the parties, and a tribunal established in each state to manage and adjudicate on training disputes, will be enshrined within the Australian Rules of Racing.
For a copy of the new Rules, to read FAQ’s on this subject, and to download the standard documents, please visit www.racingaustralia.horse
ATA Members can also access additional information and documents on the ATA website, including a template Fees Notice and an alternative TOR compliant Advanced Training Agreement. (Please note - Members Login is required)
You can also contact the Australian Trainers’ Association, either in person or by email with your query - we are more than happy to assist where we can.
Trainer/Owner(s) Agreements from 1 August 2017
Racing Australia has mandated a training agreement is required between a Trainer and Owner(s).
The Standard Training Agreement (STA) has been produced by Racing Australia (RA). This will operate as the default option for Trainers where they elect not to use an alternative training agreement.
In terms of an alternative agreement, RA recognises not all Trainers have the same breadth of activity or operation, nor level of financial exposure. Hence, the TOR rules sensibly allow Trainers to introduce an alternative training agreement to better suit their individual risks and trading differences. The sole requirement by Racing Australia where a Trainer exercises this right is that the alternative agreement must not contravene the TOR Rules.
The ATA has available for its Members an alternative endorsed Training Agreement*. This Agreement is fully compliant with the TOR Rules. This document includes additional clauses to benefit the Trainer and training relationship (and Owner from a transparency viewpoint), including:
- Owner Visitation to Licensed premises
- Limitation of Liabilities
- Owner undertakings with regard to the thoroughbred
- Use of images for business promotion
- Personal Property Security Act – securitisation of the asset
- Broader services definition and responsibilities
* ATA Members that wish to use the ATA endorsed Training Agreement in lieu of the STA, contact the Australian Trainers’ Association so an Agreement can be personalised for your training business. Additionally, where you use this Alternative Agreement, it is mandatory for the Trainer to provide all Owners with a copy.
The ATA endorsed Training Agreement replaces the previous Australian Trainers’ Association Terms and Conditions of Training document, redundant from 1 August 2017.
Applying a Trainer/Owner(s) Contract
All training arrangements will be subject to a training agreement. Racing Australia has produced a Standard Training Agreement (STA) that will be the default agreement, other than where the Trainer elects to utilise an alternative TOR compliant agreement.
The reason for the introduction of a mandatory agreement is to ensure transparency and greater certainty exists within the contractual relationship between the Owner and Trainer.
It is not obligatory for the Trainer to furnish the Owner with a copy of the STA. An Owner can access the STA from the Racing Australia web site if they wish to do so. It is the Trainer’s choice however to provide a copy to the Owner(s) as part of their business practice. For example, accompanying the Fees Notice, the first training fees invoice issued after 1 August 2017, or independently under cover of a letter.
If a Trainer opts to use an agreement as an alternative to the STA:
It is mandatory for the Trainer to furnish all Owners with a copy of any training agreement they use as an alternative to the STA.
The Trainer is required by the Australian Rules of Racing to provide a copy of any new Agreement to ALL Owners (other than for a registered Syndicate, where you send this to the Syndicate Manager, who is then responsible to share the document with Syndicate members).
In accordance with the above, it is recommended that a Trainer ensure they create a confirmed paper and/or email trail in order to support their communication and distribution of an alternative Training Agreement.
ATA Members benefit with additional recommendations in conjunction with the alternative ATA endorsed Training Agreement. Members have exclusive access to further information about the TOR including the ATA endorsed alternative Training Agreement and Fees Notice Template under the Trainer & Owner Reforms Menu. (Member Login required)