Simplifying the Debt Collection Process in Pennsylvania
The 3 Essential Elements of the Debt Collection Process
Since 1999, our Pittsburgh law firm has helped hundreds of businesses, law firms and individuals collect debt in Pennsylvania. Through the years, our experience has helped us to simplify the process of debt collection in Pennsylvania.
1. Research your claim
Prior to making any claim, do your research!
First, you must thoroughly research your claim before any attempt to collect. This means that a thorough analysis should be done of the debtor’s location, assets, resources, and situation; so as to understand the overall prospects for collection. Creditors should confirm that their claim is within the statute of limitations and anticipate and prepare for any alleged defenses. All agreements and communications between the parties should be reviewed and attorney fees and costs should be demanded when appropriate.
In addition, creditors should use all publicly available resources (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) to research debtors, their employment status and current residence. Creditors should also research all county dockets for other lawsuits involving the debtor, both as plaintiff and defendant.
It is important to try to evaluate the overall prospects for recovery before ever beginning the collections process. Creditors should also fully explore potential resolutions of their claim before filing any lawsuits.
2. Obtain the Judgment.
The best way to obtain a judgment
Once the claim is verified, and the debtor location and assets are researched, obtaining the judgment is the second most important objective for creditors. The presence of a judgment in Pennsylvania acts as an automatic lien of any real property owned by the debtor(s).
There are various methods to obtain judgments and the best way to obtain the judgment should be analyzed. For example, a confession of judgment should be filed in applicable cases. Also, creditors must determine where to file their claim and which legal venue will apply the most pressure to the debtors and increase the prospects for collections.
In appropriate circumstances, judgments should be indexed where the debtor(s) are located. Creditors should confirm that they have received a time-stamped copy of their judgment and understand that judgments should be revived every 5 years when applicable.
3. Collect the Judgment.
How to successfully collect your money
The goal of every debt collection case should be to collect the monies owed. While it is important to obtain judgments, often it is necessary to enforce the judgment in order to collect.
In Pennsylvania, creditors have various rights to enforce judgments. These options include garnishing bank accounts, garnishing monies owed from third parties, forcing a sale upon real estate, vehicles and/or other assets of the debtor(s), and requiring debtor(s) to disclose their assets.
Our experience is that most successful collections require using all legally available methods to either a) persuade the debtor(s) to pay voluntarily, or b) force a sale and/or garnishment of accounts in order to get paid. In specific cases, where execution of the judgment is the only available remedy, it is important that creditor’s understand the costs and risks associated with each option.
If you or your business have questions about a Pennsylvania debt collection case, contact us today.
This article is written for entertainment purposes only. It should not be relied upon for legal advice, and in no way does this article create an attorney/client relationship. We only represent individual(s) once there is a signed representation and fee agreement in place. Please read full legal Disclaimer.