Judgments are decisions rendered in civil court. When a court decision is rendered as a money judgment, enforcement involves collecting the amount of the award. Here is the thing: it is often best to leave collection to an expert. This could be an attorney, a general collection agency, or even a specialized agency that handles only judgments.
Salt Lake City-based Judgment Collectors is one such specialist agency. They handle judgments in Utah and 10 other states. They operate on the premise that experts are the most qualified to successfully collect money judgments. They make some particularly good points.
Knowledge and Experience Required
Judgments are legal instruments. Technically, they are court decisions. That means they are governed by a strict set of rules. Creditors must play by those rules in order to collect without running afoul of the law. Attorneys and collection agencies know what the rules are. Does the company trying to collect in-house know them?
Experience also plays a huge role. Collection agencies and attorneys learn by experience with every case they take on. Over many years, they accumulate a level of experience that cannot be matched by in-house accounting teams attempting to collect unpaid judgments on behalf of their employers.
Time Is the Enemy
What many judgment creditors do not understand is that time is the enemy. It is the enemy on multiple levels, beginning with the idea of slow walking collections in order to avoid paying. Experienced debtors do this all the time. By slow walking everything from interrogatories to simple responses to emails, they hope to frustrate creditors to the point of making them give up.
The longer it takes to collect, the harder collection becomes. So debtors are often advised to avoid and delay for as long as possible. They know that every day they can avoid paying brings them one day closer to not having to pay at all.
Statutes of Limitations
Time is also the enemy in the sense that states have statutes of limitations for collection. On average, judgment creditors have 7-10 years to collect. If they fail to do so, they either need to renew the original judgment or write it off and move on.
Debtor Assets Are Key to Success
If there is one reason to bring in an expert that beats all, it is the fact that debtor assets are key to successful collection. That is why Judgment Collectors and other specialist agencies make asset discovery a big part of their strategy. If a collection agency can find non-exempt assets to go after, they have a huge amount of leverage to encourage a debtor to pay.
Just as an example, Judgment Collectors once worked on a case involving a debtor who had done his best to avoid paying the creditor. As soon as Judgment Collectors was brought on board, they started searching property records. They uncovered a plane hangar in another county owned by the debtor.
Armed with this knowledge, they made contact with the debtor to arrange payment. That was it. The debtor found a way to pay up rather than risk losing his hangar. But prior to Judgment Collectors getting on board, the creditor never even knew the hangar existed.
It is What They Do
The simple way to summarize all of this is to say that collection is what the experts do. It is all they do, which is why they are so good at it. Yes, they provide a service creditors have to pay for. But it is a service well worth the cost when you consider the alternative: failing in your collection efforts completely.