Are you a landlord struggling to deal with tenants who are refusing to pay rent? Have you leant your services to a customer that is refusing to pay up? Whatever the situation may be, owing debt from someone is never fun. Whilst you may feel you have all the power, there are actually a great number of laws protecting those in debt that can make it quite difficult to get money back from someone that is being stubborn or ignoring your calls. For those struggling with debtors, here are the steps that you should take.
Get on the phone
Your first course of action, if you have a phone number, should be to ring up your debtor. Don’t come at them ranting and raving as this could be ground for harassment. Similarly, ring them at a sensible time that they’re likely to pick up at. Be short and sweet about how the debt needs to be paid and try to negotiate a way of getting them to pay it up. Follow up with phone calls until they have paid. If they continue to ignore your calls, refuse to pay up or say they will pay up but don’t, you can take things one step further.
Often it’s legally required to give proof of the debt in writing. Sending letters to the debtor’s residence is one way to do this. Continue to ring them up whilst sending letters. If they keep ignoring, don’t worry – you will be able to take things up a notch. Feel free to personally deliver the letter, but act calmly and respectfully. Save copies of every letter as they may be needed later as legal proof.
Hire a collection agency
There are plenty of debt collection agencies out there that can call up and send letters for you. They know the professional tone to take and all the legalities involved, and their official presence could help to show the debtor that you mean business. If they continue to ignore, a debt collection agency then has the rights to knock on their door and retrieve the debt by seizing items. Be prepared to not get all the money you hoped for – an agency may be required to take a percentage of the money won.
Get legal help
Debt attorneys may be required to file a lawsuit against a debtor, or help defend against a debtor that has also sought legal help. At this stage, things can get ugly, but so long as you have followed all the previous steps and have kept proof of the debt, things should run in your favour. The case may go to court, so be prepared to give evidence.
Don’t harass the people owing you money
The number one tip along the way is to stay calm and courteous. Harass the debtor and they may respond more defensively or deliberately make life harder for you to get back your money. Nine times out of ten, a debt can be paid off without having to get lawyers and agencies involved simply by peacefully negotiating an agreement.