Debt Collection Attorney to Author E-Book
Our debt collection clients have been asking our debt collection law firm questions about collecting their past due accounts. There are common patterns in the debt collection cycle. We decided to begin putting together an e-book on debt collection to try and help our clients maximize their recovery of account receivables. The debt collection book will discuss internal company credit and collection policy and procedures as well as what to expect when an account is turned over to a debt collection attorney. Below are several paragraphs from the book. As we progress with written the book, we will post excerpts as they become available.
Consistent Company Credit and Collection Policies
The name of the game in any business whether it be large or small is cash flow. Without cash flow most businesses, unless they huge reserves set aside struggle. Being consistent with your companies credit and collection practices is essential to keeping the money earned from services your company has rendered or has invoiced for the product your company has provided.
It is important all the personal in your company are made aware of your company’s credit and collection policies. Customer retention should be the goal. However, there will become a time in any business where a debt becomes past due. At some point your company has to start to make a decision, is the customer having a temporary cash flow issue that a simple phone call may determine or is it becoming apparent that the customer no longer has the ability to pay or does has the ability to pay but, simply is ignoring demand for payment.
When it is apparent to your company that an acceptable repayment plan will not be established, the debtor simply will not pay or the debtor is in the process of liquidating, it is time for your company to get third party help to help collect the money that is due to your company for services rendered and/or goods sold and delivered.
The Importance of the Credit Application
The Credit Application is very often overlooked by many companies. Our debt collection law firm cannot stress the importance of having your customer provide complete and accurate information on the application. From this document you can gain insight on how creditworthy your customer is. The customer may not always be truthful about its financial status but, from a credit and collection standpoint what our collection law firm is looking for, if the account becomes delinquent, is there a valid address to serve the summons and complaint and to see if a legal entity is even identified.
Too many times we see our clients invoicing a company that does not even legally exist. You can verify the corporate charter of any business by going to the Department of State, Division of Corporations Website, in the State that your customer claims it is incorporated.
Debt collection law firm
The credit application should have a paragraph added to allow for the recovery of costs and collection fees in the event your company has to retain a debt collection law firm to assist with the recovery of an account receivable. Unless specifically stated in the credit application or allowed by state statute, recovering your costs and attorneys’ fees, if you do have to take a case to court. varies from State to State. In Florida, if the credit application, contract or a Florida Statute does not specify entitlement to attorneys’ fees, each party to the lawsuit would be responsible for paying their own costs and attorneys’ fees. For this reason we advise all of our clients to include a paragraph substantially similar to: “In the event (name of your company) has to pursue collection on past due invoices for services rendered and/or goods sold and delivered, (name of your company) shall be entitled to recover its costs of collection, court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.”
Personal Guarantee paragraphs should be added to the credit application. With so many businesses open today and closed tomorrow a personal guarantee will ensure there is still someone to pursue if your customer goes out of business and there are still past due invoices that due to your company. However, keep in mind, a personal guarantee is only as good as the individual guaranteeing the obligation. There are some customers whose officers will refuse to sign a personal guarantee. A business decision needs to be made whether or not to extend credit to. If your company is willing to take a risk by extending credit to a newly formed business do so with open eyes.
In sum, your company needs to make decisions on who to grant credit to. Use the information obtained in the credit application to make a prudent decision. But, perhaps if an officer is unwilling to sign a personal guarantee that should be a red flag that the officer of the company is not willing to personally back the obligation.
( C) Copyright, Stephen B. Gebeloff, P.A. June 2015