Do you remember the days when there were plenty of functions (xmas and other parties) where clients, agencies, freelancers, production houses and the media got together and picked up on all the "skinner" (gossip)? This was a great source of information.
One could get to know which clients were vulnerable, who to avoid as they cost you money, those that were late/bad payers, the expensive suppliers, cheats and so on.
The sad fact is that these days the cheats can get away with it, as there is no way of bringing the risk to the attention of others. It is bad marketing to raise an issue in the press/media as an agency. One can pick up the image of a company to be avoided, a trouble maker etc.
Over the many years I have spent in this industry I love, I have lost lots of money. Not only to small/medium companies, but also to large corporates that have huge legal resources so that one cannot afford to fight them. I would not be surprised if the bad debt in the industry as a whole is more than the functions used to cost!
An alternative would be to have a "Hellopeter" for our industry. A portal where we can warn our fellow marketeers of a treacherous clients/suppliers. It would have to be anonymous for the reasons stated above. To establish of how exactly it could work, we most probably need a legal expert to set it up. But that there is a need for it, I have no doubt!
As in the case of "Hellopeter", it should also give the option of highlighting the "good guys" out there. Those who are professional and great at what they do. Even making suggestions and giving advice.