Wilson Cole and Samantha Cole are the president and in-house attorney respectively for Adams, Evens & Ross (AER). In today’s podcast they are talking about what to do when a debtor tells you that they’re not going to pay you. Regardless of reason, it is vitally important for you to stop any and all communication immediately.
This need cannot be overstated. There are many reasons for this, the least of which being that stopping all communication is a good legal move in general when you are faced with a situation that has clear legal implications.
Next, stopping all communication drastically reduces possibility of a company undermining their own case, sometimes beyond repair.
What are some of the ways a company can undermine their own case with a debtor who is refusing to pay?
One big way is for the company to attempt to get at least a partial payment instead of no payment at all, so they tell the debtor to pay 50% of the original amount, for example. Attorneys for the debtor will later seize on this offer and make it much difficult to later attempt to collect the full amount.
Disagreements over discounted amounts can also be construed by debtor attorneys as disagreements over whether there was an agreement between the company and the debtor in the first place.
Lastly, companies can undermine their own case by saying something heated and in the moment, that should not have been said but will be highlighted by debtor attorneys at every possible opportunity.
Wilson recounts a classic example of this happening where a client communicated to the debtor “well if you don’t think I’m owed a fee, then fine, don’t pay it!” Needless to say that supremely undermined the case against the debtor. It is much more effective for companies who have debtors who are not willing to pay to rely on the emotionally detached professionals at AER to handle the issue.
Wilson also likens being told you’re not getting paid to being mirandized. Be very aware that anything communicated after that point will be used against you.
Again, the best advice is to stop any and all communication immediately and stay quiet! Instead, direct the issue to Wilson by calling at 800-452-5287, extension 6578, or visiting https://www.staffingdebt.com/.