Debt CollectionIn today’s economic environment it is vital to have an effective debt collection process to ensure all your customer’s pay within the agreed credit terms and to keep bad debts to a minimum.  It is important to get the balance right between the level of credit provided and the cost of providing this credit.  The following are a helpful list in aiding to maximise the effectiveness of your debt collection process:

 

  • Approval of customer credit - if a large customer, consider getting trade or bank references or ask for a set of their latest financial statements before approval.
  • Agreement of trading terms (ensure the trading terms are agreed in advance with the terms specifically laying down the credit terms offered).
  • Prompt issue of sales invoices.
  • Issue of regular customer statements.
  • Maintenance and enforcement of both monetary and time based credit limits (putting customers on credit hold where necessary).
  • Regular customer contact to ensure that account is up to date and that problems are not allowed to develop.
  • Incentives for early repayment or disincentives for late payment (for example, 5% discount if paid for in 30 days or apply an interest rate after 60 days to unpaid invoices).
  • Establish a formal policy in relation to the action to be taken for accounts which are overdue (for example, a number of telephone calls and reminder letters before eventual referral to a solicitor or debt collection agency).
  • The use of a reservation of title clause on all sales of product. A reservation of title clause allows the supplier to retain title to the goods until such time as the customer has paid for them.
  • On large projects consider asking customers for a down payment.
  • At the start of each month, prepare a cash collection budget broken down by week. 

What A Debt Collector Does

A debt collector’s job is to collect money for the people you owe. In other words, debt collectors provide debt collection services for companies trying to collect on past-due debts. There are also third-party collectors who buy old debts for pennies on the dollar.

You may get a call from a debt collector if you are late on your credit card payment, if you have not paid your mortgage or car payment, or if you have other loans or bills that are in default.

Debt collectors can be aggressive and even hostile in attempting to collect money you owe. They may even make threats to scare you into paying them before you pay your other obligations. Do not let them bully you.

Instead, know your rights. With the information below, you will learn how to deal with debt collectors and how to begin taking charge of past-due bills on your own terms, once and for all!

Your Rights As A Debtor

  • A debt collector cannot contact family, friends, neighbors, or employers regarding your debts.
  • A debt collector may not contact you late at night or too early in the morning (typically between 8 am and 9pm).
  • A debt collector cannot call repeatedly.
  • A debt collector must identify themselves.
  • A debt collector may not make threats.
  • A debt collector cannot use obscene or abusive language.
  • A debt collector cannot claim you are breaking a law if you are not.

 

What You Should Say To Debt Collectors

  • Tell the debt collector that you will pay them as soon as you can… Period. If you don’t know when you can pay them, do not tell them you do. Instead, tell them you are working on it and will get back to them as soon as you can.
  • You do not have to verify any personal information, or give them any reasons as to why you are having problems.
  • After you’ve told them that you will get back to them, hang up! You do not have to continue with a stressful conversation.

 

Dealing With Debt Collectors Who Are Too Pushy

If you have a debt collector who is getting out of control and harassing you, let them know that you are recording their calls, and that you do not want to be contacted by telephone. Tell them to send you written correspondence only. If they continue, let them know you can and will report them.

If a debt collector is calling about an old debt, you need to take charge of the conversation. First, get proof that you owe the debt. Second, ask for that proof in writing. Do not make any payments before first being sure the debt is yours, and second making sure the debt has not passed the statute of limitations.

  • Here are some scripts you should use word-for-word when dealing with debt collectors who are trying to collect on old or fraudulent debts.
  • Here is some firsthand advice from someone who’s been through this before and has great tips for dealing with overzealous collection agencies.

 

Debt collection can be tricky. If you are a creditor, you will find the following three sample demand letters very helpful. These letters are intended to be a starting point and should be tailored to fit your particular circumstance. Keep in mind that some claims must be brought within a specified period of time. You should seek the advice of an attorney to determine if you have a valid claim or if you are unable to collect the debt yourself.

INITIAL COLLECTION LETTER

Dear _____:

This letter is a friendly reminder that payment on your account in the amount of €________ on your account was due on ________. If you have already sent us your payment, kindly disregard this letter. If not, please send us your payment promptly.

Yours truly,

FOLLOW UP COLLECTION LETTER

Dear _____:

This is our second reminder that payment on your account in the amount of €________ on your account was due on ________. We value your business and hope to keep you as a customer. However, we do require payment according to the terms of our invoices. Please send us your payment promptly.

Yours truly,

FINAL DEMAND COLLECTION LETTER

Dear _____:

This is our final reminder that payment on your account in the amount of €________ on your account was due on ________. If we do not receive payment in full by _____, we will submit your account for collection.

Yours truly,

 

Call The Synergy Group to get a free overview of your situation and we will advise you on a way forward.
Then, if you wish, we will hold your hand to make sure it works.

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