How delinquent does an account have to be before I can assign it to a collection agency?
As soon as you have reason to believe the account is not going to be paid, you can refer it to an agency. Generally, the debtor has told you they won’t pay or have simply ignored your statements and past due notices.
Once you know you have a collection problem, the sooner you assign it to a collection agency, the greater the chances it can be collected. It has been proven that the probably of collection diminishes with time. Holding on to an account too long can greatly reduce the chances for it to be collected by anyone.
Can I assign an account to you even if I have already charged it off to bad debt?
Yes. Every dollar that we are able to collect goes straight to your bottom line.
My office manager and other staff work our delinquent accounts. Why should I use your services?
The first issue of concern is that your office manager may be spending so much time on collection calls that other important duties are neglected. Another concern is that doing collections “in house” can have a snowball effect. The number of delinquent accounts builds each month, too many to attend, time passes and collection becomes more unlikely.
Your agency is located in Visalia. How can you help me with a business in San Diego?
Our industry conducts business by phone, mail, fax, email and by the court system. Where the client or their debtors are located makes little difference. Location of your collection agency is not significant – their performance is.
Do you charge a monthly fee?
No. We earn a commission from the accounts we collect for you. There are no other charges, and our agency doesn’t believe there should be. Our slogan “You pay for nothing – but results!” guarantees that you risk nothing to have us try to collect your unpaid accounts. We earn our commission by delivering results.
Do I need to have any long-term commitment to use your agency?
No. We believe the quality of our service will keep you coming back. Our agreement is non-exclusive. You can use us as much or as little as you wish.
Why would I want to use your agency if I already have an association with another one?
There are two points of view to consider:
1) You should consider switching agencies if you are not happy with the recovery rate or level of customer service you are being provided. Do you receive numerous complaints from your customers (clients or patients)? Does your agency respond well to your inquiries? Do they argue with you when you want to cancel an account? These and many other factors specific to your business should be considered when deciding if a switch is in your best interest.
2) You should consider adding another agency if your volume of assignments warrants a split. Competition breeds excellence in performance. If your current agency is not compared with another agency, are they putting their most experienced collectors and resources on your accounts, or have they become complacent?
What if I already have accounts with another agency, but I’m not pleased with their results or service?
You should review the client agreement/contract you signed when you began using their services. Most should give you the authority to cancel accounts at your request. Assuming you have this authority, put your request in writing and send it to them requesting the immediate return of your accounts. You should also request a complete inventory of the accounts they are canceling so you can compare this list to your records. Once canceled, these accounts can be re-assigned to another agency of your choice. If your agreement does not allow you to cancel accounts at will, but you otherwise feel you have chosen a good agency, request a new agreement that allows for cancellations. If they will not honor your request, you may want to consider a change.
What makes your “initial softer approach” more effective?
Our goal is to improve the probability of collecting your account while maintaining the optimum level of goodwill. Our unique initial softer approach opens the door to negotiation and cooperation. We tackle the problem, not the payer – unlike many of our competitors. With too aggressive a demand up front, two adverse effects can happen:
1. Litigation – if an aggressive collection call closes the door to negotiation, then litigation may be the only option. Litigation can take more time and cost more in an increased commission rate.
2. Bankruptcy – if they file, the door closes to further collection efforts.
Are you able to collect an account that is more than four (4) years old?
Yes. A debt is forever owed until paid. However, legal recourse is available only for four years from the date of last activity. Although only enforceable for four years, it can be reported to the debtor’s credit file for a time not to exceed seven (7) years.
Will you take my customer/client/patient to small claims court if they refuse to pay?
If they have proven that they will not pay, yet have the ability to pay (employed, homeowner), a suit will be evaluated for merit. If warranted, we will file upon your authorization. However, as a third-party collector (which is true of all collection agencies) we are not allowed to file in small claims court. We must file an action in civil court. Unlike small claims court, this type of action requires the services of an attorney. We have a full-time paralegal on staff, extremely experienced and knowledgeable, to assist us in all matters that require the use of the legal system to enforce collections.
Because there are much larger expenses associated with a civil action, many agencies use a minimum balance as one of the requirements to select which accounts are approved for suit. Because some agencies are simply not staffed to sue every account that qualifies for suit, they limit their suits, again, by the size of the balance. Most will not file unless the balance is at least $1000. There are some agencies that do not file suit at all.
Our position, and another way we distinguish our agency from our competitors, is that we believe overall collection recoveries improve when all accounts are given the same level of attention. For this reason, we will file suit on balances as small as $500. Under some circumstances, suit may be filed on balances less than $500. Compare this with other agencies.
Why do you charge a higher commission rate if our account requires legal action to collect?
Since we cover all costs of collection, including court costs and attorney fees, we are taking the risk of putting our resources and capital into pursuing a legal recourse. If your customer files bankruptcy, you aren’t throwing your good money after bad. Additionally, taking legal action requires more time and expertise to complete. For these reasons, we do charge a slightly higher commission rate when our legal department’s involvement becomes necessary.
Do you report information to national credit reporting agencies?
Yes. All accounts are reported monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.
What do you do if you are unable to collect an account?
Unlike many agencies, we bring back uncollected accounts at a later date and start the process all over again. Situations change: the unemployed gain employment; irresponsible youth mature; many simply tire of hiding. This is when the persistent collector finds them and collects your money!