When people come to us to help collect from a client of theirs that broke an agreement, we always advise that you refer all communication back to us. There are many problems that can arise if you try to personally deal with a debtor after turning the account over to us.
We have often seen situations where a debtor contacts our client, after bringing us into the picture, and they try to make a deal; 90% of the time the debtor will not come through and our client is opened up for a lawsuit. We have also seen debtors who have called an attorney and said that the client accepted a settlement, but this was never discussed with the attorney and now there is a case of he said, she said. As a general rule, going behind attorneys creates a web of backroom deals that rarely come together, and it gives the debtor a defense. The most important piece of advice that we give to our clients is that they have the right to shut up.
Once a case comes to us, the client should make no contact with the debtor except through us. We had one client come in and the debtor sent them a partial payment. Our client immediately turned back to us and we contacted the debtor to work out an arrangement that ensured the debt would be paid in full over the course of five weeks. We later spoke with our client and they said that if we had not made an arrangement with the debtor then they would have agreed to an extended payment period of 12 months. In this case, you can clearly see the advantage of letting us do our job. Using a collections firm makes the debtor more pliable and puts a layer of pressure on the negotiation. This becomes especially important when the client would have agreed to a lesser deal. Our involvement leaves a fear of the unknown where the debtor cannot read what is going on and has no control. The second that a client goes around us they have negated our purpose and we lose control.
One last issue we want to identify is if a debtor reaches out to you they may be able to get you to unknowingly make an agreement that they can use as a defense in court. How many times have you been in the car and a client accidentally calls your personal line rather your business? When this happens, you often are caught off guard and do not have a chance to think through your words. Do not let this happen because you might make some kind of general statement, such as “well that’s not so bad,” and it can be misconstrued as an agreement. Debtors are notoriously slick and will use every play in the book to avoid paying our clients. This is why we maintain that all communication should be through us.
Our job is most effective when you keep the lines open and let us to our job. You have paid our fee, so get the full benefit by letting us deal with the issue while you focus on your business. If you need help with collecting from a debtor, please contact Samantha Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quote 1: There are many problems that can arise if you try to personally deal with a debtor after turning the account over to us.
Quote 2: Once a case comes to us, the client should make no contact with the debtor except through us.