I agree with Marcus…some great options there.
Although it’s hard to negotiate with someone who wont talk…personally I don’t think that is a fair approach in this current environment…but I would also say its not the intent of Manaaki to pick a side, just to help provide some insights that hopefully lead to a better outcome for all.
I would explore and consider all of Marcus’ options, develop a plan and then attempt to engage again (via short email).
If this approach doesn’t result in a more positive engagement then I would recommend your colleague emailing the efforts they have made and their proposed options…documenting this will ensure that all parties are accountable.
If it is still a straight out ‘no’ then as a last resort I would consider delaying payment until the supplier is willing to discuss…pretty sure they will be in touch quickly if you delay your next payment.
The goal in my mind is to find something that works for both parties ASAP as no one wins if your colleagues business closes (can they/where will the supplier re-deploy the equipment in this market?) or if your colleague decides to prioritize other financial commitments over the equipment rental (there are consequences to this).
I’m sure it is stressful and frustrating but your colleague should try to go into this considering the suppliers side too, as they might be trying to stop their own business from going under or keep their employees/suppliers paid so try to resist the temptation to start an argument that will end up being counterproductive for all and focus on achieving an outcome where you remain a paying customer and have a positive relationship moving forward.
Hope that helps.