A couple of months ago, I attended a presentation by a well known trial attorney. He opened the seminar by stating that he had never represented a Plaintiff/Creditor in a breach of contract action. Given the fact that the audience consisted of creditors’ rights attorneys, collection agencies and credit managers, this statement raised some eyebrows.
This gentleman was quick to qualify this statement by saying that he has tried thousands of “broken promise” cases, but never a breach of contract case. His point was that it is important to remember that these breach of contract cases (i.e. broken promises) are being heard and decided by people just like you and me. As such, it is important not only to keep things as simple as possible, but to make sure that we don’t exclude the human element to such cases.
I think that this lesson translates to all stages of any collection effort. It is something that everyone in the credit industry needs to remember. From the initial telephone call to your Debtor, through the closing argument your attorney makes during a jury trial, all that is at issue is a broken promise. The key is conveying to those involved, the Debtor, Debtor’s Counsel, Judge, Jury, etc., the simplicity and humanity of the situation.
Webster’s Dictionary defines a “promise” as, “a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified.” It is as simple as that. Once you learn to communicate this characterization of your claim to the Debtors or their attorney, your successful collections will undoubtedly increase. Just remember, don’t break any promises of your own. If settlement discussions break down and you have threatened legal action, be sure to act promptly by contacting your creditors’ rights attorney.”