Debt collection can feel a little bit like searching for lost treasure – although you have a map to guide you, there are unique challenges and obstacles to face along the way. Unlike searching for lost treasure, however, debt collection requires a deft and professional touch – you can’t simply go stomping around asking for it. In order to overcome the various hurdles involved with collection, you need to partner with a commercial or medical collection agency with years of experience and a proven track record.
There are numerous little obstacles that an organization or collection agency can face in the process of debt recovery. Too many to count, in fact. But in this article, we’ve decided to list a few of the hurdles and challenges that commonly crop up. These might be excuses on the part of the debtor, new financial realities that prohibit a debtor from fulfilling their obligation, missing information about the debtor or bad faith on the part of the debtor – to name just a few general reasons.
Of course, if any of the following obstacles rear their head, don’t hesitate to call in Summit A*R. Difficult-to-recover debts are one of our specialties, and we’ve never met a challenge we weren’t willing to face head-on. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few specific hurdles you might face.
Unknown Contact Info/Location
You would think that in a modern age of technology, tracking down someone’s contact info would be fairly straightforward. All you really have to do is type their name into Facebook and, voila, you have access to their entire contact sheet, right? Well, unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.
A debtor might be difficult to contact or locate for a few different reasons. Either they provided false or incomplete information to begin with, or they move frequently and therefore the information they provided is no longer relevant. Or, perhaps, they are purposely evading notice. Whatever the reason, incomplete contact and location information can seriously hinder the collection process.
It’s difficult to overstate how valuable clear and complete communication is in the debtor/creditor relationship. It allows both parties to set comprehensible, agreed-upon terms, removing any confusion that might hamper collection down the line. The only problem is that, in order for there to be clarity, there needs to be a common language – and that, unfortunately, doesn’t always exist in America.
As a broadly multicultural country, there are many people who don’t speak English, people for whom our process of billing can be unknown and confusing. You might have a patient at your medical practice, for instance, who appears to agree to the items on their bill, and who indicates that they understand their statement of financial responsibility, but who in fact does not.
Tax Season Blues
There are certain obstacles that are simply outside of your personal sphere of influence. You can control the terms of your own deal with a debtor, but you cannot control their other financial obligation, which might be in a state of flux. Case in point: tax season.
When tax season rolls around, some people take a hard, annual hit to their finances. This temporary throttle in cash flow means that they might be unable to pay their debts on time, which can cause you – the creditor – some cash flow grief of your own.
There’s nothing that will grind collection efforts to a halt quicker than debtor bankruptcy. Once a debtor files for bankruptcy, with the debt owed to you discharged, there isn’t much that can be done. Being proactive, however, and coordinating with the debtor or their attorney before the debt is discharged can help you recover the money you’re owed.
The prospect of debtor bankruptcy can be a very tricky obstacle to navigate. In order to do so professionally, you’ll want one of the top commercial collection agencies in your corner.
There are generally three types of debtors: those who pay on time; those who want to pay on time, but cannot, for one reason or another; and, finally, those who have no intention of paying. This last one can be a real thorn in your side, because that flat-out unwillingness to pay is not something that can so easily be changed with external pressure.
Debtors unwilling to pay their debts are frustrating, but they aren’t a lost cause – and you shouldn’t write them off as such. Their unwillingness may be born out of miscommunication, misguided indifference, or a misunderstanding of the importance of their financial obligations.
Overcoming the Obstacles
There are no hurdles too high for a professional debt collection agency. Where your organization might see unrecoverable debt, we see a challenge waiting to be undertaken.
If you’re having trouble tracking down a debtor because of unknown contact info/location, we can help, with our advanced, comprehensive skip tracing department, run by an on-staff licensed private investigator. Our skip tracing solutions are offered to clients at no additional cost and can help sniff out even the most evasive debtor.
If you are having trouble collecting debt because of miscommunication or language barrier, we can help by employing our informative, diplomatic methods. If a client wants to pay, but is unable because of cash flow insolvency (those tax season blues, as mentioned above, can hit certain individuals hard), we can work to recover the debt while still preserving the dignity of the debtor. And if a debtor is flat-out unwilling to pay, we will firmly but professionally remind them of their obligations, as well as the legal ramifications for neglecting said obligations.
Obstacles abound when it comes to recovering debts. But there is no obstacle too large or non-navigable for a great collection agency. Call us today to learn more about how to recover even the most difficult debts, and start recovering your own financial stability while you’re at it!
Whether it’s a stubborn debtor, an evasive debtor, a well-intentioned debtor, a language barrier or a bankruptcy filing, there’s always something we can do.