I own a wholesale / retail business. Every month, we have to make payments to approx 200 creditors but the reality of a trading business is that there are times when cash flow is tight and we need to stretch out our payments beyond the agreed terms – this can range from a few days to one or two months. We too have customers owing us money at the end of each month who do the same to us which further stretches the cash flow challenges. From our experience in the industry, it seems the norm that most people try stretch out payments at times when cash flow is tight. My questions:
1. Does Halacha prescribe that general creditors must be paid on time (obviously this does not include employees whom we always pay on time) ?
2. Some of our suppliers are Jewish owned businesses – should we be making a specific effort to pay these suppliers exactly on time or do non Jewish businesses rank on the same level ?
Thanks for your help.
Our apologies that it took a while to get back to you.
Answer from Horav Y. Fleishman shlit”a
You cannot make him pay bec he did not damage but failed to do proper shmeiro and there are two probs
1 most Rishonim and poskim say shomeir is not chayav for even negligence in things like checks since they don’t have intrinsic value
2 there is a major dispute between Maharshal and Shach if a shomeir can say הרי שלך לפניך and if he can, he can give you the check and say here it is and that’s it
It could be that he would be chayav bedenei shomayim as a gromo but I don’t have a proof at the present