How the Collection Process Works
At Wakefield Law, our contract litigation attorneys engage with the collections process on a daily basis. However, for our clients, this process may not be as familiar. When businesses have outstanding invoices or customers who have not paid for services or goods already provided, business owners can choose to hire an attorney to pursue the collection of the debts on their behalf.
We work hard to ensure that the collections process is simple, straightforward, and easy to understand for all of our clients. In general, we use the following basic process when we receive a collections claim from a client:
1. Formal Demand Letter
Initially, we will send a formal demand letter that conforms with the law. This letter lets the debtor know that an attorney has been retained to take whatever legal action may be necessary to collect the debt. It also informs the debtor that all communication about the matter from this point forward should be with our firm and not with the client. Sometimes, once a debtor knows that an attorney is involved, he or she will call or email to make payment arrangements.
2. Filing a Lawsuit
If the demand letter goes unanswered or does not elicit payment of the debt, we will go forward to file a lawsuit in the appropriate court.
3. Take Judgment or Set a Trial Date
For a lawsuit to move forward, it must be properly served upon the debtor. This is the court's mechanism to ensure that the debtor is informed that there is a lawsuit against him or her. If the lawsuit is properly served and the debtor either does not respond or does not show up to the court date, the court will usually award judgment against the debtor. This means the court has affirmed that the debt is owed and enables us to use collection procedures to garnish wages and accounts and bring debtors into court to answer questions about their financial assets.
If the debtor is properly served and shows up in court, he or she will either admit or contest the debt. If the debtor admits the debt, the court will award a judgment. If the debtor contests the debt, the matter will be set for trial.
4. Collecting the Debt
Once a judgment is obtained, our firm will either enter into a payment arrangement with the debtor, or we will proceed with post-judgment collection proceedings. All payment arrangements and settlement offers are confirmed with the client before accepted.
5. Post-Judgment Collection Proceedings
Every debtor is different, so our firm has a variety of methods that we utilize to locate debtors and collect outstanding judgments from them. Whether we determine that the debtor should be summoned into court or assets should be garnished, Wakefield Law is committed to working diligently to collect our clients' debts.
Contact a Collections Attorney
If you are a business owner or individual with outstanding debts that you are having trouble collecting, reach out to one of our experienced collections attorneys to learn more about the collections process. We are always happy to discuss your options with you over the phone or in our Leesburg office. Call to make an appointment to discuss your claim at (703) 771-9740.