Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Collecting Past Due Debts

With many signing services struggling to meet their financial obligations, collecting on past due debts has become a hot topic. There have been some, um, unusual suggestions on how to collect these debts, including involving government officials or selling your debt to someone within close physical proximity to the company that owes the debt in hopes that they may have a better chance to collect the debt in person.

I believe a typical step approach still works best. Notify the signing service first by phone or e-mail, then if there's no resolution notify them in writing, then by certified letter, then proceed to small claims court or other legal remedies. If you've had a past relationship with the signing service with no prior problems, there's nothing wrong with a little patience. Public pressure seems to have an affect as well, so if you've tried reasonable measures with no success, calling out the offending party on some of the notary forums has worked in the past. No company wants a bad reputation. Contacting the title company can sometimes put pressure on the signing service. But understand that some of these steps, although they may eventually get you paid, may also alienate you from these companies. Temporary financial situations do sometimes arise, and you may not want to burn your bridges.

Above all, it's important to stay professional. Calling ten times a day, faxing them hundreds of times in an attempt to tie up their fax machine, or calling a borrower directly only serves to reflect poorly on you. If you intend on having a continued career in the industry, handle yourself in the same professional manner you would handle your loan signings.


Brenda Stone said...

Excellent, excellent advice, Al. I hope you don't mind if I spread this link around a little bit.


Alex Y. said...

Thanks Brenda. Of course I don't mind.

Anonymous said...

Good advice Al. I generally follow the multiple step method also and never go public with any information that may be damaging to my client. I collect aggressively but I also screen my clients aggressively. I believe that an ounce of prevention is worth tons of cure. I rarely have a collection problem.

Anonymous said...

Good advice. I too follow the multiple step method you outline and never go public with any information that may reflect negatively on my client, unless they become grossly in arears. I collect aggressively but only call once a week as a reminder for status. This year I only have one unpaid account and they folded. I rarely have a collection problem when I stay on top of the situation.

Unknown said...

Absolutely the only way to collect professionally. IMO most times I have had a payment issue it has been nothing more than an oversight, and because I choose to collect in a professional manner, it has been resolved in a timely manner. I can't imagine using some of the non-professional manners I have seen some notary forum posters claim to utilize.

juk'ste-pozer said...

I suspect there's a heavy influence attached to the professional manner in which you FIRST invoice, as well - a complete and professional invoice is just one more part of the WHOLE job, and from what I gather in reading forums, a lot of people drop that ball.

I'm always so baffled when I read things like "where can I get an invoice?" or "does this company require an invoice?"

How many service people have you ever hired, who did NOT PROVIDE a clear, complete and immediate invoice?