How should small businesses utilize debt collection agencies?
If you have not set up a collection system we suggest you use the following guidelines for your business:
1. Debts up to $100.00 - Attempt collection 5 to 6 times using in-house collection letters. Then either turn the account over to a collection agency or write it off.
2. Debts from $100.00 - $1,000.00 - Attempt collection 3 times using in-house debt collection letters, then turn them over to a collection agency.
3. Over $1,000.00 - Invoice 3 times, then turn it over to a collection agency. In most cases a debt collection agency should be used to attempt collection of the debt. Next the collection agency can skip trace the debtor or do an asset search to find out if debtor(s) has(have) any assets sufficient to make suing worthwhile. After all avenues have been explored it may be time to consult with an attorney about suing. Remember, it does no good to go to court and win a judgment if the debtor(s) have no the assets to pay the debt.
4. Lastly, if all else fails report the delinquent account to the credit bureau.
If the business owner determines that he/she is going to send a charged-off account to a debt collection agency, the owner must first write a form letter to the agency. Next, by law, once an account has been turned over to an agency, it must send a formal notice to the debtor. In addition to making it clear that the account is now in its hands, it provides an opportunity for the debtor to dispute the debt or a portion of it. Often the debtor will acknowledge the original balance, but balk at paying interest and/or penalties. Your settlement figure will give the collection agency some latitude when it comes to negotiating. Once the deadline for replying expires, active collection activities begin. Bringing an debt collection agency on board makes it clear to the debtor that the account has been taken out of the business owner's hands. This will relieve the owner of a significant amount of time and emotional strain. Debt collection agencies are of great value when the debtor has skipped, as good collectors are masters at tracking people down. Do not begrudge the agency its commissions. Anything it brings in goes directly to your bottom line, because you as the owner have already written off the balance. Be flexible when it comes to settlement arrangements. It will increase the likelihood that the debtor will be willing to make a deal and start paying.
What are some facts about the debt collection industry?
Collection agencies are a significant tool to both small and large businesses. We help improve and manage your bottom-line, allowing you to concentrate on your company's growth. The IRS now utilizes third party agencies to collect on an estimated $250 billion in delinquent taxes and predicts $120 billion as potentially collectable. Lawmakers hope that private agencies can bring in $1.4 billion in past due taxes over the next 10 years.
What is the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
More about fair debt collection act: This is a federal law (P.L. 95-109) Congress passed in 1996 to regulate collection agencies and help eliminate abusive debt collection practices that contributed to loss of jobs and invasion of privacy. If a collection agency violates any of the provisions of the law in attempting to collect a debt form a consumer, the consumer may have civil remedies available to them, including punitive damages. You may find the entire Fair Debt Collection Act on the FTC website, http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpa/fdcpact.htm. Created to amend the Consumer Credit Protection Act to prohibit abusive practices by debt collector.