Receivable/Accounts - Information for Credit and Collection Issues

Friday, May 18, 2012

Collection Tip - Avoid Childish Taunts

If you have to take action against a consumer or company, you want to get those consequences across. However, you don’t want to make it a retort to an emotional or escalated conversation. Deliver the consequences dispassionately, and give the debtor a chance to take the path of resolution.

Don’t say:

“If that’s the way you want it Frank, I’ll start preparing a legal claim today!”

Try saying:

“Frank, it’s unfortunate that we can’t come to a resolution.  Please understand that if we can’t resolve this sizable claim, it’s our standard policy to prepare a report for head office on whether legal action is necessary.  I would hate to head down that path -- what do you propose?”

If you are a fellow credit and collections industry colleague, and want to discuss collection techniques, or are a client who want to discuss our approach to collecting debt, which we refer to as the APPRAISE process, feel free to give us a call or an email.

Blair Wettlaufer
Kingston Data and Credit
Cambridge, Ontario


  1. How about "What can we do to resolve this?", positioning yourself as an ally in the process - which in fact you are. You are there to get Frank to find an acceptable way to make good on money owing, not to send him to jail.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Being an ally, and encouraging rapport, is an excellent approach. However, once a casual or empathic relationship is developed, it's almost impossible to go to a stance of authority and consequence -- simply, the debtor often believes there are no consequences because the person they spoke to was "nice and pleasant".

      If someone is cooperative and willing to resolve the claim, certainly empathy and openness is the way to go, but first impressions, and a standard approach should portray calm authority.

      Of course, this is generally speaking. Our office does accounts receivable outsourcing (30-60 days old), all the way to repudiated leases on repossessed vehicles -- every portfolio needs a different approach.

  2. Collectors also need to remember to simply state the legal ramifications ONLY IF they are contractually given permission to carry out such actions and if they do plan to carry out such actions. Otherwise, it's misleading information!

    We want to avoid Complaints being filed with the Ministries of the respective provinces.

    1. @Preston, agreed -- as well, collectors should be honest about the steps required to achieve judgment, and then execute on it, rather than threatening to seize wages or assets immediately.