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Handing over a debt collection matter

Collecting outstanding debt from debtors can be a huge headache. That is why handing over a debt collection matter to an attorney could be beneficial. Here are a few suggestions of what information should be given to your attorney when handing over a debt collection matter:

  • Debtor’s information:

  1. Last known contact numbers
  2. Addresses
  3. The debtor’s employer’s information (if available)
  4. E-mail addresses.

If you have minimal or old information, you can ask your advisor to do a trace.


  • A contact person:

This is especially valuable if the account is that of a company where you used to deal with that “nice lady” in the accounts department. Getting specific names or email addresses is essential when trying to recover debt. If the debtor is an individual and the debtor’s partner used to pay the account, give their information as well, just to be safe.


  • Correspondence:

Any emails or messages between the parties involved should be made available to your attorney. This is especially important, as the correspondence might have proof of the debtor acknowledging the debt. This could be helpful if the debtor possibly disputes the account.


  • Statements or invoices:

Any invoices that were submitted to the debtor.


  • Anything and EVERYTHING that you feel is relevant:

If it’s not, your attorney will tell you. It might just be that small bit of “irrelevant information” that could enable the account to be settled in full. Rule of thumb: when in doubt- give the information anyway.


Note: Always tell your debtors when you plan on handing them over, even if it is via e-mail or SMS and give your advisor proof thereof. This will give the debtor a better first impression of the collector, they won’t be caught off guard, and this might just be what they need to trust the collector and co-operate.


When is the right time to handover a matter?

  1. When the debtor is no longer communicating with you, their contact numbers have been disconnected or they are ignoring your calls.
  2. When the debtor has been making arrangement after arrangement but still isn’t paying. This is a common pitfall and comfort zone debtors often fall into.
  3. When the debtor says “do what you want” in terms of legal action.
  4. When the debtor keeps bringing up previous disputes that have already been resolved.
  5. When the debtor keeps asking for documentation in form of statements or invoices when you both know that they have previously received it. This is a common form of stalling the matter.

Note: If the debtor claims to be unemployed, don’t lose hope of receiving payment. A quick trace can determine the truth. And even if they are unemployed, it’s not the end of the road.

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