Imagine a small business taking a number of customers to court after said customers failed to pay their bills. The evidence is straightforward and simple. In each case, the small business wins and a judgment is entered against the customer. That is the easy part. The collection is much harder. Is there a key to doing it successfully?
Different people in the collections game would probably have different keys to success. From this writer’s perspective, the key to successful judgment collection is perseverance. I’m a firm believer in the old proverb that says, ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’.
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Debtors Have a Will to Fight
The expert debt collectors at Salt Lake City’s Judgment Collectors explain that the vast majority of judgments entered in American courts go forever unpaid. If this surprises you, remember that being forced to take someone to court over an unpaid bill is clear evidence that the debtor has already avoided paying for some time. The person has demonstrated a willingness to fight. Why would a judgment change that?
Debtors with a will to fight can utilize certain strategies to avoid paying. Unfortunately, they can also use the legal system to their advantage. A system designed to protect their rights also contains loopholes they can exploit to keep creditors at arm’s length.
- slow-walk their responses to interrogatories
- fail to furnish accurate employment and income information
- hide assets (both real estate and personal property)
- change addresses and phone numbers.
Some debtors are even willing to move out of state to avoid paying. But thanks to a cooperative arrangement cooked up by the states some years back, moving away isn’t as effective as it used to be. Creditors can now collect judgments across state lines if all the affected states agree.
In It for the Long Haul
Firms like Judgment Collectors do not take new cases lightly. They carefully consider whether a judgment is worth pursuing before agreeing to do so. They do not want to waste their time on a case that won’t lead to a payday. When they do take a case, they are in it for the long haul.
The best in the business are as stubborn as the debtors they chase. They need to be. Collection agencies need to persevere in order to work through every attempt to thwart them. They need to be willing to spend hours scouring public records. They need to put the effort into exhausting every lead they can find on social media. They need to put the time into skip tracing.
All of this is to say that collecting from a debtor willing to go to any lengths to avoid paying is hard work. Collection agencies rarely succeed overnight. It can take months, even years, just to find the one thing that will convince a debtor to pay.
You Can’t Give Up
All these things combined explain why I believe perseverance is the key to successful judgment collection. If you want to succeed, you simply cannot give up. You must refuse every temptation to throw up your arms and walk away. The minute you entertain giving up is the very minute your brain starts the process of doing so. Then it is only a matter of time before you actually walk away.
For the record, this is what stubborn debtors are counting on. They are counting on frustrating collection efforts for as long as it takes to get debtors to give up. The key to beating them is perseverance. It is being as stubborn as they are for as long as it takes.