How to go about collecting debt from a client that won’t pay

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Dealing with a client that doesn’t pay on time, refuses to pay altogether or has large outstanding payments is extremely frustrating and is something that companies often experience. 

Although this situation can be hindering, it’s important that it’s handled in the correct way so that your company image is not affected in the process and to increase your chance of collecting the debt. 

Debt collection needs to be approached carefully and how it’s tackled often has to be determined on a case by case basis. 

There are usually three types of clients when it comes to owing money:

  • Clients who go to any lengths to avoid paying
  • Clients who have a lot of outstanding payments due at once but pay them off intermittently
  • Clients who can’t pay because of financial issues

No matter what your relationship with the client is, you have a right to collect the money that you’re owed. 

Here are a few tips on how to go about getting your client to pay up whilst being professional and strategic. 

Stay composed

When someone owes you money and is refusing to pay it can be easy to get angry and riled up and want to go full steam ahead. Of course, you have the right to be upset but it’s important to stay calm. Getting angry won’t get you anywhere and if the client senses hostility they will be less likely to cooperate. The debtor will respond to your mood and tone, so be upbeat and positive and they will be more likely to comply. 

Understand your rights

Before attempting to collect a debt that you’re owed, it’s important that you do your research and educate yourself on your rights and legal options. This will ensure that you understand what you can and can’t do and will boost your confidence in the situation especially when interacting with the client. 

Don’t harass them

The last thing you should do is harass a client that is refusing to pay. You must apply a certain level of persistence to the situation but there’s a difference between checking in and harassing. 

Harassing is calling a customer every single morning for 60 days continuously and screaming at them. Persistence is calling every seven to ten days and giving the client some options by which they can start paying off the debt.

Keep a record of everything 

It’s vital that you document everything that happens throughout the debt collection process. This includes documenting every time you talk to the client on the phone by recording the phone call and taking notes. Keep a copy of every letter that you send and save every email that is sent and received. 

This way if the situation ever escalates and leads to a legal battle in court you will be able to use your records and it could be beneficial. 

Turn to a debt collection agency

If you find that you’re not getting anywhere with your calm strategic approach, it may be time to enlist the help of the experts. An agency that offers debt collection services will be able to help when all else fails. 

They will be able to provide a rapid, efficient and complaint method bespoke to you in order to recover your money. 

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