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You are well aware that collecting past due bills isn’t easy. Here are a few ideas that will make it easier.

L Capone once stated that you will get a better response with a gun and a nice word than with a nice word alone. While the temptation is certainly there to force a debtor to pay, your weapons are limited by laws and common sense. This article is designed to use those weapons to their best advantage. There is nothing you can legally do to produce a perfect collection record, but this article will give you the tools to improve the ratio of collections you can make in house.

Get your ducks in a row. Nothing gets a debtor off the hook faster than a caller who is unprepared. You are going to ask for something the debtor does not want to give up. Your conversation should be pleasant, but you are on opposite sides of the fence. Your best interests are contrary to the debtor’s best interests. Do not expect the debtor to help you collect. If you don’t have your facts straight, the debtor is off the hook. Here is what you need:

1 – Who ordered your product or service? You should not only know their name but have their signed order. You should also have them listed on the credit application as one of the company representatives that may place orders.

2 – Approval Information. Who said the specifications were acceptable? This should also be in writing and should also be from somebody the debtor company listed as having the authority to deal with your company.

3 – Shipping Information. Who signed the bill of lading? You should have a copy of the shipper’s information so you can snuff out any notion of shipping problems. If there was a problem, it would be on the bill of lading.

4 – Invoice Copy. What was sold under what terms? This document should match closely with the purchase order provided by the debtor. You should know when it was mailed to the debtor and if the debtor has received additional copies of the invoice.

5 – Customer satisfaction information. A good vendor calls customers to verify what is received in writing. You should make notes of these calls, who you spoke to and what they said. Problems that did not exist after two weeks have no right to appear after two months.

6 – Follow up information. When were statements sent out or second and third copies of the invoice? You cannot stop a debtor from pleading ignorance, but you can keep it from being blamed on you.

Now you have a complete picture of the sale. You can not only provide details to the debtor, you can stuff most of the debtor’s lame excuses right back in their faces. You have the names, the dates and the activities right in front of you. It will take less than two minutes to review this information, but you will save many phone calls, not to mention money, by preparing for your collection calls.

It would be unlikely that you are the only credit problem facing the debtor. A simple and successful stalling tactic used by many debtors is nothing more than to question some aspect of the debt. This will send you scurrying through your files and may take quite some time. The debtor can work this stall successfully for quite some time and you may not even realize he is stalling. I am not saying that your debtor is intentionally lying. If you make it easy, however, it could take you weeks just to get out of the starting gate.

Have this information on hand, however, and you put yourself in charge.


Executive Credit Management is a full-service Debt Collection and Applicant Screening agency with over 20 years’ experience located in Central New Jersey. We provide excellent service in the following areas: Employment Screening, Business Screening, and Tenant Screening. Executive Credit Management belongs to a number of Skip Tracing databases and offers services to help locate and confirm the current address of missing debtors. Other services provided are: litigation evaluation on all lawsuit decisions, improvement of the quality of the applicant data, Lawsuit Monitoring, Handling of Debtor Disputes. Executive Credit Management features the best Call Monitoring System in the Debt Collection industry.