What We Need to Start a File
The following applies to vendors of goods and services of many descriptions. Assigned or purchased debt, credit card debt, money loaned or various other debt obligations may require different documents.
To initiate any new file with our firm (not reduced to judgment), we need a copy of the account transaction history going back until a point of a zero balance if possible. The history should show all dates of service or delivery dates, the amount of product delivered or purchased or the services rendered, the charges for same and the dates and amounts of all payments received or credits to the account.
Remember, although you are very familiar with the coding systems used in your software, printouts of this info may not be as readable to a judge or others who review the account history. Providing a sheet to us with explanations of your coding system would be very helpful.
If you have had a customer or patient for only a year or two the entire transaction history is usually appropriate. If your client has been with you for many years but has only experienced credit problems in the recent past, we do not initially need the entire history. Please just provide information only back to a zero balance or when the credit problem started. If they never had a zero balance we will need the entire history. (Obviously, if any debtor disputes their debt, we may need more layers of detail.)
We also need a copy of any credit application, customer or patient agreement, new account form or other informational form (signed or unsigned) prepared in connection with your opening the account. Copies of credit reports, checks or telephone notes are also helpful.
A Connecticut collection attorney may only request interest or finance charges from a consumer debtor (and/or attorney fees will only be awarded by the court) if there is a written agreement outlining these items signed by the customer. Mailing statements or invoices with language to the effect that interest will accrue on outstanding balances, etc. does not provide us the authority to demand such charges. You must have a written agreement that clearly provides for interest and attorney’s fees signed by the customer. If one exists but is not available or cannot be produced, we still must refrain from demanding finance charges, etc.
If you do not have a signed credit application we must back out any finance charges on your account transaction history as the law allows us to only demand the principal that is due. If you do not send us such a signed agreement with the account we will assume one does not exist or is not available and we will pursue the account for principal only.
Once you have sent an account to our offices for collection you must stop sending monthly statements or invoices to your customer as this may end up being confusing to the debtor. We might be seeking a higher or lower amount than the invoices you are sending which may result in problems collecting the debt.
If a consumer customer disputes the debt or a specific element of it after we have sent a demand we need to respond promptly with back up validation of the debt. We will contact you and request detailed validation if your signed credit application and/or transaction history is not enough.
If there are exceptional circumstances in a particular account, or if a collection agency or another law firm has previously tried to collect the debt, please give us a “heads up” on this.
As we start to sue a debtor we need their social security number to obtain military service information. (We cannot get a default judgment against someone in the active duty military.)
If you receive a payment from a customer after you have sent an account to us for collection please process the payment and kindly inform us promptly of the date and amount received. You can use the form we provide you with to let us know, or any written notice. We will then bill your company for the fee we are entitled to and we ask that you pay this in due course.
It is very important that you keep us informed immediately of payments received as we might be in the process of suing the debtor or engaging in post judgment garnishments or executions, etc. These documents might be incorrect if we do not receive prompt notice of payments delivered to you.
Likewise, if you receive any calls or inquiries from your customers for explanation of amounts owed after a matter has been turned over to us, please direct all such questions to this office.
If you receive any bankruptcy forms or foreclosure documents or letters from an attorney or any contact from a customer, please inform us of this immediately.