Debt collection attorney

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Helene Mueller
eCollect support team

A debt collection attorney is a legal representative, specialised in matters of recovering debts and past-due amounts from debtors. Such solicitor can be part of a third-party debt collection agency (not connected with the contract between creditor and debtor), part of a first-party (working within lender’s organisation subdivision) or can be a private representative, operating independently from DCAs (Debt Collection Agencies) and creditors. His role is of great significance for the whole debt collection process, as the debt collection solicitor is the last recovery tool before the inception of court proceedings. Law-court actions can be costly and time-consuming for both creditor and the DCA. As debt collection attorney is the last resort before court actions, it is vital the debt collection solicitor performs prosperous actions and to successfully collect the delinquent amounts of debt.


Debt collection attorney- areas of expertise and permitted actions

Debt collection solicitors strive to act according to laws and regulations, in order to provide quality, ethical and legal services. As deriving from the name, a debt collection attorney’s area of expertise is the whole debt recovery process. Their permitted actions and specifications are as following:

  • A debt recovery solicitor is specialised in negotiation and mounting different payment plans for debtors. They usually help in recovering unsecured commercial and individual debts like medical defaults, student loans, purchase debts, etc.
  • A debt recovery lawyer is primarily involved in the debt recovery process and also provides legal consultative support during default amounts’ collection.
  • A debt recovery solicitor has the legal right to perform in-house visits to debtor’s property. He is also authorised to seize property if needed, but usually negotiating a payment plan is more preferred as an option. He can also offer the debtor to take part of his property, equal to the debt amount, sell it at auction and in this way settle the outstanding amount. He is allowed to contact the debtor using different communication methods and tools, such as phone calls (within the accepted time-frames), official letters, emails, fax and voice messages, etc. If the collection lawyer operates along with a DCA on an international level, he can either serve one or more countries, depending on his area of expertise.
  • A debt collector attorney is authorised to send different official law letters, as well as letters of demand, letters before action, etc. If necessary, the debt recovery solicitor can continue with raising claims, pursuing legal actions and even start a small claims court procedure.
  • A debt collection attorney is the person who estimates whether a litigation process is requisite, or not. If the debt amount cannot be collected using pre-legal and legal actions, the default collection lawyer can recommend usage of court litigation proceedings and can commence the debtor’s case to law-court, after the agreement of the creditor.
  • Depending on the gravity of the debt situation, the default recovery attorney can even file a statement of claim towards the court, requesting debtor’s wage garnishment.

A default collection solicitor’s actions are regulated by different acts and laws. Even if the solicitor is part of a debt collection agency, his authorities and prohibitions differentiate from DCA’s. Canada regulates debt recovery companies and debt recovery lawyers by Office of Consumer Affairs- ext. link 4, the Consumer Protection BC (ext. link 5); and other acts, depending on different states. Information for all Canadian territories can be found at
http://www.consumerinformation.ca/eic/site/032.nsf/eng/01173.html
.

In the United Kingdom a debt recovery attorney acts under the Solicitors Regulation Authority (ext. link 6), the Consumer Protection Act- ext. link 7, the Financial Conduct Authority (ext. link 8), etc.

In the US are valid the: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act- ext. link 9, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act- ext. link 10, the Federal Trade Commission- ext. link 11, etc.

Debt collection attorney’s charges and interest

If the debt collection solicitor is part of a debt recovery agency, the creditor will not have to pay extra for his solicitor’s services. Sometimes, even the court actions are free of charge for the original lender, as the default collection solicitor and the DCA he represents, request their interest payment to be made by the debtor. But if the legal subject is part of a private law bureau, depending on its policy and T&C, the creditor might be charged per day, and even per hour. The recovery solicitor can also charge additional fees for sending different letters of demand and request- payment reminders.


Used literature & external links

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-debt-collection-attorney.htm
 

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-a-debt-collection-lawyer-do.htm
 

http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/justice_freedom_security/judicial_cooperation_in_civil_matters/l16023_en.htm
 

http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/h_ca00000.html
 

http://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/
 

http://www.sra.org.uk/home/home.page
 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1987/43
 

http://www.fca.org.uk/
 

http://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/fair-debt-collection-practices-act-text
 

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/109/s256
 

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/chapter-2/subchapter-I