You have sent letters, made phone calls, and probably even tried face-to-face visits. However, it has all been in vain. Unfortunately, one of your business contacts still owes you money, and the payment is just not forthcoming. You may feel bad about taking the next step. However, you have worked hard to make your business a success, and having bad debts on the books is going to put all of your efforts in jeopardy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to get paid for services or products that you have delivered. What are your options? Should you hire an attorney or collections agency?
Attorney or Collections Agency
If the debt is a small amount, you may be better off just writing it off as a loss. However, larger amounts can affect your ability to make payroll, pay your own business bills, and draw a salary. Sometimes, you have no other choice but to take drastic action to get at least a portion of the money that you are owed.
If you need collections services in Atlanta, you may be pondering whether you should call a conventional collections agency or just go ahead and hire an attorney. However, skipping a collections agency and going straight to an attorney could actually save you money and get your payment more quickly. Here are four reasons that hiring an attorney is better than trying a collections agency first.
Professional Conduct with an Attorney
You have probably worked hard to maintain a professional image of your company. And, you may pride yourself on the dignity with which every member of your staff conducts himself. You may have strict rules about politeness, kindness, and staff behavior. However, you may put your hard-earned reputation on the line by accidentally hiring the wrong collections agency.
Some collections agencies resort to what ultimately would be considered harrassment. Occasionally, these services are intentionally rude to debtors on the phone and make repeated, nasty calls to both the debtor and the debtor’s family. Of course, you do want your payment. However, you don’t want someone using underhanded techniques to get it.
Attorneys generally have a professional style that will reflect well on your business. They will not shy away from being firm and direct, but they understand that you can be tough while still being civil to others. In addition, attorneys do not have to threaten to take action or try to intimidate people; they simply allow the law to do what it is intended to do. Attorneys will work hard to protect your reputation while still getting the money that you are owed.
Attorneys are Excellent at Negotiations
Most attorneys excel at negotiation. In fact, negotiation is a huge part of an attorney’s job. Many attorneys prefer to negotiate with people over dealing with a long, drawn-out court process. An excellent attorney can get you a better settlement with a delinquent client than a collections agency can. Some collections agencies will take up to half of your settlement and put it in their own pockets. An attorney’s hourly fee may be comparatively small in light of the settlement that he can get you at the negotiations table.
Attorneys Understand Complex Legalities
Federal laws can sometimes seem to bind creditors’ hands in collecting over-due payments. However, a good attorney will know the law and be able to work within it to protect your rights. Many times, clients have extenuating circumstances that may affect your settlement. Attorneys understand things like divorce law, credit reporting rules, bankruptcy laws, and corporate liability laws. They can help you get the best terms possible when dealing with clients who may be insolvent.
Consumers Take Attorneys Seriously
Because a collections agency will send dozens of letters and make many phone calls, clients may not take them seriously. They may talk of ruining someone’s credit or threaten legal action, but without an attorney, those claims cannot be acted upon. Attorneys know that most people take legal action seriously. Sometimes just a letter from a law office can move your past due bill to the top of the pile. Many clients will prioritize paying you over those businesses using collections agencies.
While you may think that hiring an attorney to represent you in a collections case may cost more than hiring a collections agency, that is not always the case. The cost of hiring an attorney will vary widely depending on the intricacies of the case. A case that drags through a lengthy lawsuit will be more costly than one that is remedied by two or three letters from the attorney. However, the best way to learn more about your options as a business owner is to visit an attorney and talk it over with him.