If you’re a business owner, you are likely familiar with the frustration of trying to collect unpaid debts. Working with a collection agency often produces subpar results, with many debt collectors simply giving up on certain obligations rather than pursuing them fully. Working with a debt collection lawyer can help you get better results, and may result in far higher returns for your debt collection efforts.
Commercial or business debt collection is critical to companies of all sizes. When customers or other businesses fail to pay for the goods or services that you have provided to them, it can seriously impact your bottom line. An efficient, cost-effective debt collection strategy can help keep your business profitable.
At Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes, Inc, we are skilled in all aspects of business debt collection in California. Our goal is to help our clients win the collection dispute — without losing the war by spending more than what is practical on any given debt. From our law office in Fresno, we represent clients throughout Kings County, Madera County, Fresno County, Tulare County, and Merced County on a range of commercial debt matters.
As with any legal matter, evaluating each of your options is critical to making an informed decision about how to proceed. When it comes to business debt collection, that requires deciding whether to take an outstanding debt to small claims court or to come up with other strategies with the assistance of a debt collection lawyer.
In California, there are strict limits on how much money a party can claim in small claims court. Individuals can sue for up to $10,000, while corporate entities are limited to $5,000. Both individuals and corporations can file no more than 2 claims that exceed $2,500 in any small claims court in a calendar year. The filing fee for a small claims court complaint is $181.00.
For businesses with a few past due accounts or past due accounts for relatively low amounts of money, small claims court may make sense. In most cases, however, the maximum claim amount of $5,000 and the limit on the number of cases that can be filed in a year make small claims court an impractical solution. Perhaps more importantly, even if you win in small claims court, it can be difficult to enforce the judgment and collect your money.
A business debt collection attorney in California can utilize their knowledge of California collections law to develop a plan for debt collection that (1) maximizes potential recovery and (2) minimizes expenses. Your lawyer can analyze each outstanding sales invoice or contract in light of the laws governing that type of debt and likelihood of recovery, and then advise you of which debts collection are worth the time and expense of pursuing.
Some companies choose to work with a debt collection agency in place of an attorney. These agencies typically make a profit by taking on a high volume of cases, sending out form letters to debtors, and performing minimal follow-up. In most cases, a debt collection agency will not craft a strategy that is tailored to the specific needs of your business.
When you hire a law firm that performs business debt collection, you are getting more than just a company that makes a few phone calls or sends out letters to go after outstanding accounts receivable. Instead, you will have access to a professional with experience in and knowledge of the laws and regulations surrounding debt collection in California.
Unlike consumer debt (such as credit cards and student loans), which is governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the practice of commercial debt collection is largely unregulated. However, there are still rules that apply to all types of debt collection. Your Fresno debt collection attorney understands those rules and will work within the bounds of the law.
At Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes, Inc, we start each business debt collection claim by reviewing the contract or other document at issue. In California, the statute of limitations bars claims made after a certain period has passed. For example, claims for breach of contract must be brought within 4 years of the date that the contract was broken if the contract in writing, or 2 years if the contract was oral. This type of review is essential to ensuring that your company isn’t wasting time and money pursuing a claim that cannot be enforced in court.
After this initial analysis, our law firm will investigate the debtor, using technology to track down their assets and discover any outstanding judgments against them, bankruptcy filings, or other issues that may affect their ability to repay their debt. In some situations, you may decide that it is more cost-effective to simply write off a debt. We can help you make that decision.
If you move forward with debt collection, we will begin the process by reaching out directly to the debtor. In many cases, a debt collection attorney who is experienced in business litigation can negotiate a debt settlement that allows you to maximize your recovery. When debtors refuse to pay their outstanding debts, our law firm will pursue all options to collect, including filing a lawsuit in state court and foreclosing on secured loans.
After taking a debtor to court, we will utilize a variety of methods to enforce any judgment against them, which may include additional fees that arise during the collection process. This may include filing a lien against their real estate or other property or wage garnishment.
Business or commercial debt collection focuses on recovering outstanding debts that are owed by one business or person to another company, or by a person for a debt that is related to business. By contrast, consumer debt collection involves recovering money that is owed for personal purposes. Business debts are often for products or services, while consumer debt is typically for things like credit cards, medical bills, mortgages, and car payments.
Consumer collection is heavily regulated by both state and federal law, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The California statute is called the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Commercial debt collection is not regulated as heavily as consumer debt collection, although several California laws governthe collection of commercial debts.
There are also specific time limits, known as a statute of limitations, for taking action on certain types of debt; after the statute of limitations has run, the debt cannot be collected. For example, an action to recover based on a written contract must be commenced within 4 years from the date on which one of the parties breached or broke its promise to pay. Verbal contracts are governed by a 2-year statute of limitations that also runs from the date when one of the parties breaches or failed to do something, like make a payment, under the agreement. A skilled Fresno county small business debt collection attorney can evaluate each of the debts owed to your company, and develop a strategy for collecting these funds in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
Many collection agencies simply send form letters to debts, with the names, addresses and dollar amounts added to each letter. An agency may follow up on these letters with telephone calls, or even by using robocall software. If collection seems doubtful, the agency may simply stop trying to collect the debt.
Business debt collection attorneys in California do not operate on a high-volume basis. Instead, their focus is on building a relationship with a client, whether the client is a small business or a large corporation. A lawyer will analyze each collection debt, review the law that applies to the debt, and customize a strategy that fits the client’s needs.
Debtors are often more responsive to correspondence from an attorney, as opposed to a form letter received from a collection agency. A skilled Fresno business debt collection lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with a debtor, and if collection attempts fail, take the legal action necessary to recover the money. This may include options such as filing a lawsuit for judicial enforcement, asset investigation, wage garnishment, property liens, and foreclosing on secured loans. In these situations, recovery may also include fees associated with the debt collection.
As with many legal questions, the answer is to this question: it depends. Numerous factors affect whether your business will be able to recover money from a debtor. This includes:
Many of these questions can be answered through a thorough investigation of the debtor’s affairs, including tracking down their assets and reviewing both corporate and court records. A business debt collection attorney can take these steps while researching California law to determine a possible basis for collection action against the debtor.
As the owner of a small or medium-sized business, you know that every dollar matters. At Law Offices of Frank M. Nunes, Inc, we understand that reality — because we’re also small business owners. We take that into account for each of our business law clients as we work to recover debts on their behalf.
With more than 20 years of experience, attorney Frank M. Nunes is highly skilled at handling all types of commercial debt collection matters. We work collaboratively with each of our clients to find the best strategy to collect on their accounts. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us online or call our office at 559-436-0850 (toll-free: 866-267-0367).
My job starts when I leave home…Two cars hit me head on… Out of all the attorneys on Youtube, Frank M. Nunes at Nunes Law stood out… Frank told me that after meeting he thought that he could help me with my case… Frank helped me get a workers’ comp attorney…Frank worked with my worker’s comp attorney…Frank worked hard on my case. He took the time to explain everything to me. Frank really got my case going. He got results. He settled out of court. I was very satisfied with the settlement. Frank did a fantastic job. Thank you, Frank
My daughter and I were looking for an attorney after being involved in a car accident. After reading many exceptional reviews about The Law Office of Frank M. Nunes, we contacted them. We went to an interview and were very impressed. We would suggest that if you are looking for an attorney who is honest, straight-forward, and very personable, who will get the most for your injuries, then look no further. Frank Nunes is the attorney for you!
I have worked with a number of attorneys over my 73 years. When I found myself a victim of a rear end auto accident and with Insurance Companies giving me the good old run around treatment, I knew I needed help. Dreading to talk with one of the attorneys I used in the past because I deemed them as big a problem as I was encountering, I decided to look for a new face to represent me. I found Frank Nunes and his staff of professionals, from the moment I met and counseled with them they helped me get my life back on track both physically and legally. If I ever need a counselor for any legal matter in the future, I will be seeking the advice and counsel of Frank Nunes and his staff of professionals.
Thanks, Frank and all your staff, for all your help both personally and legally.
We were looking for a lawyer for a lawsuit against a woman who hit me with her car. … Frank was able to collect from her insurance and our insurance, which was very helpful for us. Frank and the secretaries in the office were very good at helping me stay calm and confident. …
You walked me through every procedure of the lawsuit [and] cared and worked for us to come out of this suit with something that would help us.
Frank and his staff care for their clients and that means so much to us!!
[Frank Nunes] came highly recommended by an insurance company employee who knew [him].
Mr. Nunes is very knowledgeable about the field of auto accidents; he is very practical and pragmatic. His patience is amazing and he can explain the details and nuances of a case with clarity. He works very hard for his clients!
[He was] very good to listen to the accident situation and to offer counsel and advice about what to do next and where to go for the needed medical treatment. [He was] willing to listen to the concerns we had about the accident and the insurance process. [He] made every effort to get us a fair and reasonable settlement in a timely manner. [He was] very straight-forward and realistic.
We were looking for a lawyer because we had a serious car accident and when we met Frank Nunes we felt comfortable and we knew he was trust worthy. We would recommend Frank Nunes in a heart beat. He helped us with the bills that were coming in and [gave] us guidance in what to do.
You are the best! [You are] trustworthy and so helpful. You answered all of my questions and kept me in the loop with my case.
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We represent clients injured in tractor-trailer crashes as well as auto accidents. Contact us today at (559) 234-4680 to schedule a free consultation. Or learn more by reading about why our clients choose us. We offer free consultations. There is no fee if there is no recovery.