Debt Collection Law
Every business at one point or another faces the much-dreaded situation of having to collect money from reluctant clients, also known as debt collection. A common problem in almost all sectors of business, understanding how to implement debt collection practices and understanding debt collection law are integral parts of running a successful business operation while minimizing your legal risks. Priori is committed to helping you find and hire the best debt collection lawyer to help you navigate debt collection law, which can be complicated and frustrating without legal help.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which applies only to consumer debt, makes it illegal for third-party debt collectors to harass or use unfair or dishonest tactics to try to recover money from debtors. With certain exceptions, a debt collector cannot speak with third parties about a debt except to obtain contact information for the debtor, cannot contact a debtor too early or too late in the day, and cannot make attempts to contact a debtor at his or her workplace. The law also forbids debt collectors from engaging in various forms of harassing, deceptive and threatening behavior, such as suggesting that they can have the debtor arrested.
Some common avenues at your disposal to implement good debt collection practices and avoid a drawn out collection process include:
Once an account becomes delinquent, you can implement debt collection practices. An escalating chain of demand letters, often featuring the terms of the agreed upon payment that is past due and the threat of legal action, can serve as a useful start. A debt collection lawyer can help you formulate reusable letters that you can have at your disposal for whenever the need arises.
If it is clear that your debtor is unable to repay the full amount owed, you may want to consider a possible settlement. The perks of immediate payment (at a discount) may very well outweigh the costs of moving forward. A mutual settlement agreement drafted by a debt collection lawyer is required for both parties to move forward and free each other from their respective obligations.
Debt Collection Agencies
If a settlement is out of the question, the next viable option is to enlist a debt collection agency. There are two main types of collection agencies — ones where you pay a collection agency to recover the money on your behalf and ones where you sell the actual debt (at a discounted rate) to the agency, which keeps any collected assets for themselves.
Considered the ultimate last resort, this aspect of debt collection law entails filing a debt collection lawsuit--which requires a considerable amount of research and investigation. Before proceeding, you should make sure you know where the appropriate assets are located to ensure the proper filing location/jurisdiction. The statute of limitations in the relevant jurisdiction(s) is also an important variable that you will need to account for. Most states allow between 3 and 6 years after the delinquent date to file such a lawsuit. Additional requirements for filing include a written complaint, the submission of evidence, and participation in at least a single hearing. Once you have secured a victory, a separate action may still be required to enforce the seizure of assets.
Through Priori, you may work with a debt collection lawyer on an hourly, flat, or in certain situations, contingent-fee basis. Submit a request to schedule a consultation with a Priori debt collection lawyer today to get a better sense of the fee options available to you.
How can a debt collection lawyer help with debt collection practices?
A good debt collection lawyer can help you navigate debt collection law and debt collection practices in order to help you collect the debt you are owed. This includes negotiating a settlement, locating debtor assets, seizing secured property, initiating a lawsuit, and instituting an enforcement action.
What should you do if you are the debtor?
If you are a business and know that you cannot meet your financial obligations, the best course of action is almost always to get in front of the storm and consider offering a settlement. Creditors are often very willing to accept a discount in order to avoid the headache and substantial cost of collecting the full amount they are owed through legal avenues. However, if the statute of limitations has expired, do not let your creditor trick you into reaffirming the debt in writing because this will legally revive the debt.