The stats from Satago, a credit control service, suggest that 81 per cent said it was because they felt uncomfortable about doing so while the remaining 19 per cent said it was because they didn’t want to antagonise customers.
More than a third said they had written off thousands of pounds worth of debt each year.
The stats highlight an ongoing and controversial problem for those affected by late payments. While the law states that those who are paid late should be able to charge annual interest of eight per cent plus the Bank of England base rate, just 16 per cent of survey respondents said that they did so.
Last summer the idea of compulsory fines for late payers was mooted ahead of a Government consultation on the topic.
In the end Vince Cable opted for less severe action, including forcing companies to publish the length of their payment plans and the strengthening of the Prompt Payment Code.
The move was cautiously welcomed by employer groups but some said we would need to see how effective they were before deciding whether more action needed to be taken.