Friday, March 2, 2007

A Few Wise Words of Advice for Debtors

Doug Masson practices law over in Lafayette, Indiana. He also runs Masson's Blog. From time to time he mentions things relating to his collections practice. I did not see this post from the 27th, but I did today and thought it was great. My practice no longer includes as much consumer collections as it once did, but I handled things pretty as Mr. Masson lays out below. Most collections attorneys I know handle their cases the same way. The following describes how a debtor can screw themselves with a collections attorney and I suggest any debtor having a very long think after reading this:

But some people just don’t get it. They are obstinate. They aren’t going to pay their debt, and they don’t care what a court has to say about it. Nothing gets my hackles up faster than someone telling me what they will or won’t pay. Tell me sweet lies about how you’re really trying, you’re really sorry, but you just got into a jam and really, you’re going to pay next month. But make the lies plausible, make an effort to pay, and above all, do not tell me that you’re not going to pay, and I can’t make you. Because if you do that, I’m going to bring as much of the heavy handed mechanisms of the law to bear as I can to collect the debt. And when I suspend your license for damages from your uninsured auto accident, I’m not going to be moved by your lamentations that you can’t get to work without a license. I’m not going to care that garnishing 25% of your take home pay doesn’t allow you to pay your other bills. If you got to that point, it’s because you didn’t pay the original creditor, you didn’t work out a plan with the collection agency, you didn’t work out a payment plan when I sent you an initial demand, you didn’t work out a payment plan when I filed a lawsuit, you didn’t work out a payment plan when I got a judgment against you, and you didn’t work out a payment plan when I filed the first proceeding supplemental.