The public largely still think of debt collectors as muscle-bound heavy men lumbering up to the door flexing their tattoos like nightclub bouncers with less jewellery but more charisma.
It’s a model long since cast aside by business.
Many people still presume that these chaps are the only means of redress available; after all, programmes along the lines of If You Can’t Pay Then We’ll Embarrass You on National Television have been reality show staples for some time.
By and large, though, it’s a model that has long since been cast aside by businesses who recognised a while ago that such heavy-handed tactics were seldom effective. Our chief weapon when it comes to retrieving money owed is not aggression, but mediation.
For a start, there are the due processes to follow and while a court order authorising retrieval of money or equivalent goods is a last resort, it very rarely comes to that.
Mediation between the two parties is our first response and it means taking time to listen to both parties. After all, there may well be a good reason why people are not in a position to pay. After that, we assess what the next practicable steps could be.
If the person who owes the debt cannot pay the full amount but agrees to begin making scheduled payments, that’s great . . . but we also need to pin down whether they can afford the sums they are offering or are just saying something to pacify our client.