A blunder has resulted in debt collectors being sent to retrieve unpaid alcohol licence fees.
Usually those who have not made the annual payment are called before Moray licensing board to explain their actions.
Councillors then decide whether to renew, suspend or revoke the licence.
A list of those who have not paid usually goes before the first board meeting of the year.
But that did not happen at the one held on Wednesday.
Legal advisor Sean Hoath said he did not have up-to-date information on who has not paid.
Invoices are sent out in August for payment in October.
But there were still 27 outstanding in January this year. That number has fallen but no accurate figure could be given to the board this week.
Mr Hoath explained a mix-up with the finance department resulted in debt collectors being sent out to collect fees.
He said: “They didn’t follow the correct process and did go to an agency.
“So at the moment I can’t tell for certain whether payment has been made or not.”
Buckie councillor Sonya Warren raised concerns over the process.
She said: “Normally debt collector agencies add on fees and charges.
Annual fees due in October
“So will the licence holders be expected to pay the additional charges, or will they be written off?
“How does that actually work?
“We all make mistakes, but there must be a due proceed that we follow.
“What’s going to happen with these charges, are we going to have to pick them up?”
Mr Hoath told the meeting that still had to be determined.
He said: “I don’t know what the outcome is as yet.
“It has been very clear in the past that these fees are not to be issued to debt collection agencies, and it’s happened by mistake.”
Mr Hoath added licence holders essentially had five months to settle their bills before appearing before the board.
Those who have not paid their fees could be operating illegally.
And it is thought licence holders will be charged the costs for employing debt collectors to recover the money.