How long will it take to collect the money owed to me?
Customers often ask me for a timeline for the collection of monies due them. The honest answer is that it will take the time it takes. When we receive a new file, we begin the process by sending them a notification of debt and by attempting to reach them by telephone. Until that point, the process if the always the same. However there are many things we could encounter once we attempt contact:
- The debtor could pay immediately. Sometimes just the act of receiving a collection call or letter will result in a quick payment.
- The file could need new contact information. The first notice could be returned to us and we would then search for a new address. The phone numbers could be no longer in service, and again, we would have to research for a new phone number.
- The debtor could dispute the debt, and ask for validation. Even if you have not previously hear a dispute, do not be surprised if one surfaces when referred for collection. A debt collector is adept at getting at the details of the dispute, and will explain the debtor’s concern to you. More information may be needed, and the negotiation will commence.
- The debtor could set up a payment plan. You would not get all your money at once, but you would get regular payments.
- Litigation may be necessary. Sometimes the only way to settle a claim is to file a lawsuit. There are many variables at play at this point. It may take time serve the lawsuit on the debtor. Some courts are busier than others, but it could take weeks or months to get a hearing date. The debtor, now a defendant, could obtain a continuance which would delay the hearing. If you successfully win your case, you would obtain a judgment, but since the court does not collect the money for you, you still may have to employ other methods, like liens to get paid.
The important thing is that provide all information the collection agency will need to help you. Also, do not delay sending delinquent customers to a debt collector. You are not doing yourself any favors by holding onto a file for more than 90 days. In fact, you could be hurting your chances.