The ordinary course of business defense requires that either (1) the payment have been made in the ordinary course of business of both the supplier and the customer; OR (2) the payment was made under “ordinary business terms.” Please note this is an either/or test. Prior to 2006 the test was an “AND” test and both elements had to be proven. This was very difficult to do.
The contemporaneous exchange defense is one of the most often disputed defenses. It should not be that way. The focus of the defense is very narrow. The focus is on the time when the potential preference payment was received. The payment must be made at or about the same time as the delivery of goods or services for which payment is made. So the “information zone” is very short.
The reason the contemporaneous exchange defense is often litigated is because the supplier has failed to get the proper documentation in place to establish the defense.
Original Post 12/28/2008; See Updates At End of this Post
For a supplier confronted with a customer bankruptcy, nothing changes bad to worse like the failure of the customer to successfully reorganize. This means that a filing under Chapter 11, which creates the possibility that the customer will continue operations, now becomes a liquidation under Chapter 7. Worse still, the supplier who has received payments on open account during the bankruptcy preference period will likely face a bankruptcy preference claim and faces the real prospect of receiving a demand for repayment of those amounts.