Staying Within the Law When You Need to Collect Business Debts in Philadelphia
One inevitable aspect of running a business, even a small business, is running into situations where a customer is unable to pay their bills. From time to time, you will have to deal with a customer in collections, but you will need to tread carefully when this occurs.
The safest course of action is to hire a Philadelphia business litigation attorney or at least a qualified collections agency. If the amount is small, however, you may have recourse to more cost-effective options. Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to collect, here are some guidelines to follow.
Five Important Guidelines for Handling Collections Legally
1 – Call during normal business hours
Calling a debtor at unusual times of day or night can be considered harassment. If you are going to call, keep your call within the same general times of day that you would conduct any other business calls.
2 – Always accurately identify yourself
The law is quite clear when mentioning how you must identify yourself: you must always clearly identify yourself accurately, without claiming to be a lawyer, government agent, or any other form of authority. Making false claims about yourself in this fashion can open you up to legal action.
3 – Adhere to the original contract payment terms
Once a deal has been made, you must stick to the terms. That is to say, a business owner will be unable to invent late charges that fail to appear in the initial deal. Likewise, using threats of such additional charges to try to encourage payment is improper, unless they were part of the original contract terms.
4 – Keep the debt a private matter
Private citizens are shielded from having their debts disclosed to other people associated with them, such as their employers or co-workers. Threatening to ruin the reputation of someone, or trying to get them fired, will almost certainly land a small business owner in court.
5 – Promptly post any money paid
Sitting on money received, for the sake of trying to generate additional revenue through fees or interest, is dishonest. All payments made must be promptly posted, and the debt resolved.