You can pay by cash or cheque (which must be supported by a bank guarantee card and made payable to ‘Forestry Commission’) where an inspector visits your office as part of the inspection. They will not make a special visit to collect payment.
Cheques can be posted to the Forestry Commission Plant Health Service, although three days clearance from the date of receipt is required for cheques unsupported by a bank guarantee card. All cheques and cash payments will be receipted. For credit/debit card payments telephone our Credit Management Branch: 0300 067 5086.
When a payment is being made against a Certificate of Clearance (PHF28), a transaction reference number will be issued which will be sent to the inspector detailed on the Certificate by Credit Management branch. The inspector will add the transaction reference number to the Certificate of Clearance to advise the Plant Health Service that payment has been made.
Unless you have a credit account we recommend that a cheque for the fee is sent at the same time as this advance notice is given. If you wish to use this procedure our regional manager will advise on the amount of fee due. This will ensure that any delay in issuing a Certificate of Clearance after an inspection (while waiting for funds to clear) is kept to a minimum. A copy of the phytosanitary or industry certificate and commercial documentation may be used for advance calculation and payment of the inspection fee. The copy certificate must accompany the payment with sufficient information to enable identification of the inspection it relates to.
By law, you must give the inspector the original phytosanitary certificates within three days of the goods being landed. We will not be able to complete its inspection and clear goods until the certificates are provided except in exceptional circumstances. If the goods will not be ready for inspection at the time originally notified, you must let us know, otherwise a charge may be made for an abortive visit.
Special arrangements for payment
Most importers use a Customs clearance agent who has a credit facility with us(see Applying for a credit account, below). You may arrange for your agent to calculate and make payment on your behalf. Normally, the agent will collect the fee from you and remit it to us in the month following the inspection. The agent may charge for this service and you should seek details from them. However, where you wish to carry out all of the plant health clearance work, and you intend to import on a regular basis, you may apply to us for a credit agreement yourself.
Applying for a credit account
We offer credit to those customers who request it, subject to credit worthiness being established. Customers granted credit are required to pay for goods before the end of the month following the month in which the PHF28 Certificate of Clearance was issued.
An assessment of your credit worthiness will establish the maximum level of risk before we ake any formal offer. Credit will then be offered up to, but not exceeding, this level. The amount of credit offered will also reflect the level of trading. Responsibility for carrying out assessments of credit worthiness, and the subsequent offering of credit facilities, lies with our Credit Manager. When you seek credit from us for the first time you should obtain a credit application form (see page 8) for our assessment.
Where the level of credit is likely to be £10,000 or less, you will be asked to supply a bank reference, credit agency report and a local background report.
Where the level of credit is likely to be £10,000 or more, you will be asked to supply the above mentioned documents plus company accounts – which must be not more than 12 months old.
Applications for credit may be made by newly-formed businesses, which do not have a trading record of sufficient length upon which to base a reliable assessment of risk. Provided a satisfactory bank reference and local background report have been obtained, a credit facility of up to £2,500 may be offered without security. Any credit offered above this level must be secured against a bank guarantee.
For existing credit customers a fresh assessment of risk will be carried out routinely, at least every 12 months, or when you request a higher credit limit. These routine re-assessments of risk take account of payment performance, bank references (where necessary) and company accounts (where credit limit is gretaer than £10,000).
Where customers are deemed not to meet the requirements, credit limits will be reviewed and possibly reduced.
In the event of bankruptcy, those importers operating a credit account directly with us will be liable for any debts. Similarly, where an agent is authorised by an importer to act on their behalf, the importer will be held liable for the debts. However, where an agent operates a credit account directly with us in their own right, they will be held liable for any debts as a result of bankruptcy.