Dell has written to what it calls its ‘valued' suppliers to tell them that it is ‘standardising' its payment terms from 50 to 65 days, citing ‘current economic conditions' as an excuse for making them wait two months for their cash.
The Forum for Private Business, which protects the rights of small companies struggling to operate in a marketp[lace increasingly dominated by multinational global corporations (like Dell) has added the computer giant to its 'Hall of Shame' alongside other household names - including Argos, United Biscuits and the brewer Carlsberg - which also brow-beat small companies into accepting crippling payment terms.
The Forum reckons late payment causes serious cash-flow problems for small firms, many of which are still struggling despite the UK's economy entering a fragile recovery.
According to Bacs, more than £30 billion in outstanding payments is currently owed to small firms in the UK.
"Small businesses continue to suffer from the blight of late payment, which devastates cash flow and forces firms into administration. Companies like Dell have a responsibility to pay promptly – failure to do so can mean the whole supply chain seizes up," said Forum spokesman Phil McCabe.
"When they receive a letter like this, smaller suppliers have no choice but to agree and stay silent. There is little room for bargaining. For the sake of small businesses and the economy the new government must prioritise tackling the culture of poor payment, addressing the bully boy behaviour of these bigger companies."