Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT TYPE OF CLAIMS MAY BE SENT FOR COLLECTIONS?
The claim must be based upon either a promissory note or a contract for the provision of goods or services in the state of Colorado. The contract should be in writing, and it must be possible to reduce the claim to a specific dollar amount. Clams for personal injury or other tort claims are not accepted for collection.
HOW SOON MAY I SEND AN ACCOUNT FOR COLLECTION?
There is no law that specifies how much time you must give a person to pay before placing the account into collections. Whether you try to collect the account yourself, and for how long you try, are individual business decisions. The time to send the account for collections is at the point where you have done as much yourself as you care to and there is no prospect for payment. If you are not interested in attempting to collect yourself, you can send an account to collections as soon as the money is due.
HOW OLD MAY A CLAIM BE THAT IS PLACED FOR COLLECTION?
Generally, the statute of limitations on a claim for money is six years. That is the time limit for filing a lawsuit. Because we need some time to find people and have them served with court papers, we do not accept claims older than five and one-half years.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THAT MY CLAIM WILL BE COLLECTED?
It is impossible to say for any one claim. Whether we are able to collect an account depends upon several factors specific to the individual debtor. In some cases, there is not enough information available for us to be able to even find the people. Others are “judgment proof” - we can obtain a judgment in court, but there is no legal remedy available to force the people to pay. Bankruptcy is always a possibility. We can only pursue each claim as far as the law allows.
DO YOU REPORT DEBTORS TO THE CREDIT BUREAUS?
Yes, we report to all three major credit bureaus. By law in Colorado, we must wait thirty days after receiving an account before we may report it to the bureaus. However, if the account is disputed by the debtor, we are required to mark it as disputed on their credit. We ask that all clients inform us if they know the account is disputed prior to our receiving the account!
IF A DEBTOR FILES BANKRUPTCY, CAN YOU STILL COLLECT THE DEBT?
As soon as a bankruptcy case is filed there is an automatic stay put on all collection action. If the debtor has any assets, we may file a proof of claim and we will eventually receive some money from the bankruptcy trustee. However, in general, we either receive nothing or a very small percentage of the claim after bankruptcy has been filed.
CAN YOU STILL COLLECT IF THE DEBTOR DIES?
All assets of the deceased pass into his/her estate, and we may then try to collect our claim from the estate. If there is no money in the estate, then it is not possible to collect the debt.
WHAT TYPE OF SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS DO YOU NEED US TO SEND YOU?
The more documentary evidence you have to support your claim the better. Most claims, especially against tenants, are disputed to some degree. The more evidence we have to support the claim, the greater our chance of successfully collecting it.
IF YOU SUE ON MY CLAIM, DO I HAVE TO APPEAR IN COURT?
We always attempt to settle claims out-of-court after filing a lawsuit. However, if we are not able to do that and the debtor files an answer with the court denying the debt, then the case will be set for trial. At trial we must have a witness who has first-hand knowledge of the facts, or is a custodian of business records that establish the claim. We cannot provide testimony in court for you.
IF YOU WIN THE LAWSUIT AGAINST THE DEBTOR, DOES THAT MEAN THE CLAIM WILL BE PAID?
When we win a lawsuit we obtain a judgment, which is simply a court order that the money is owed. To collect the judgment, the law provides certain remedies such as wage garnishments and liens on real property. The court does not order the debtor to pay, and it is not illegal or a contempt of court to not pay a judgment. Whether we collect after obtaining a judgment depends on whether we are able to locate where the debtor works, or find other attachable assets. Winning in court does not necessarily mean we will be able to collect the debt.
ARE YOU LICENSED AND BONDED?
Yes, we are licensed as a collection agency by the Attorney General’s office of the State of Colorado. We are also bonded, which means that you are insured against our failure to remit money owed.
ARE YOU MEMBERS OF ANY PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS?
Yes, we are long-term members of ACA International - the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals. We are also long-term vendor members of the Apartment Association and The National Association of Residential Property Managers.