As an entrepreneur, you need to be familiar with a lot of things. But it’s okay to admit that you aren’t able to do everything and therefore outsource certain work to people who are better at it. For example, many entrepreneurs choose to work with a debt collection agency when a debtor stops paying the bills. You can of course call and/or email every day, but a phone number or email address is quickly blocked. You obviously want action and you want your money back, so you choose to let the professionals handle this. But how exactly do you choose a reliable debt collection agency (in Dutch: incassobureau)? This article will tell you all about it.
Are the reviews good?
The debt collection industry has a bit of a bad reputation. This is because there are still only so-called debt collection cowboys who do their work badly and charge a lot of money for it. Obviously, you want to avoid them.
To do that, we advise you to look very critically at Google and TrustPilot (or another review tool) reviews. What do customers say about their experience with a debt collection agency (in Dutch: incassobureau)? Of course, reviews can also be fiddled with – so be vigilant of, for example, dozens of reviews posted on the same day.
Do several debt collection agencies have good reviews? Then it might be nice to check with business friends whether they have experiences with the debt collection agencies in your area.
Are the collection agencies open about their success rate and payment method?
Once you’ve been able to filter through the reviews, it’s advisable to take a critical look at the website as well. You always want to choose an agency that is open about their success rate over the past year. Ideally, this percentage should be as close to 100 as possible.
Also check if they’re open about how their fee is structured. Do you pay a ‘flat fee’ for their services? Or do they work on a ‘no cure no pay’ basis, where the debtor pays AND you won’t pay anything if the debt collection agency fails to recover your money from the debtor. If they are vague about how you pay, that is obviously not a good sign.
Does the debt collection agency have legal means of pressure?
If you have the misfortune that your non-paying debtor has done this before, chances are that the letters of your debt collection agency will go straight into the bin when you choose a ‘regular’ debt collection agency. They can often also use a bailiff, but they can’t do everything. For instance, a bailiff can’t file for bankruptcy as a means of collection and can’t help with court proceedings or appeals.
However, if you choose a debt collection agency with collection lawyers, it will be a different situation. They can take many more steps if things get legally complicated. Suppose your debtor files a counterclaim or tries some other legal trick, a collection lawyer will know what can and can’t be done. After all, you don’t want your case to be messed up through incompetence by someone who doesn’t have the legal knowledge to deal with it. Moreover, you will need a lawyer anyway should you want to file a bankruptcy petition or if you want judicial collection for claims over €25.000.
So you can opt for convenience and go straight for a collection agency with collection lawyers. Defaulters also know that they can do much more than an ‘ordinary’ collection agency’.
We hope this information will help you choose a good collection agency!