Different From Collection Agencies
CLF has two primary sustainable competitive advantages over collection agencies:
1: Our All-Bite-No-Bark Approach
Collection agencies tend to be all “bark” and no “bite.” After exhausting their empty threats and offering ever-increasing discounts, agencies must hire lawyers or paralegals to prosecute a claim in court, and they rarely do. When they do, they generally give up if a debtor files a statement of defence, no matter how groundless. CLF doesn’t bluff. We expertly, professionally and successfully obtain and enforce judgments against debtors with the ability to pay who refuse to do so voluntarily.
In practical terms, collection agencies tend to skim their files, focusing on recoveries per hour spent by collectors rather than recovery per file. This leads to not having full information on a debtor and settling the debt for a discount regardless of whether a full recovery might have been made had the debt been enforced in court.
A law firm does not have to resort to the questionable tactics some collection agencies have made infamous. Rude language, harassing calls and baseless threats are unnecessary, and are increasingly ineffective. Debtors are becoming more sophisticated and many know that many collection agencies rarely follow through on their threats.
When CLF writes or calls, we do not bluff; there is “bite” behind the “bark.” We much prefer that a debtor pays voluntarily without court enforcement, but we are able to recover full interest and costs from a suit-worthy debtor who forces us to recommend suing. Full recovery from an intransigent debtor six months from now with interest is worth more to our client than needlessly compromising the claim to induce the debtor to volunteer an immediate discounted payment.
We have never had a valid debtor complaint. Quite the opposite occurs. We have actually had debtors thank us while paying substantial amounts of money collection agencies failed to collect. This is particularly valuable to any credit granter who desires to maintain good will and have delinquent customers return after their financial troubles are resolved.
Another advantage of the CLF all-bite-no-bark approach is highlighted by the imposition in 2004 of a two-year limitation period under the Limitations Act, 2002 in Ontario. Traditional collection processes often take more than two years before considering legal action. CLF’s approach of investigating the suit-worthiness of claims at the beginning of the collections process and suing all suit-worthy files that are not paid voluntarily preserves the value that would be extinguished by the limitation period.
2: Our Ability to Collect Costs
Collection agencies are specifically prohibited in Ontario by the Collection Agencies Act (and by similar legislation in other provinces and at the Federal level) from adding any collection costs to a debt they are collecting. Reasonable lawyers’ fees are excluded from the application of this restriction.
As a law firm, CLF adds substantially to its recoveries for you by utilizing this ability to enforce its client’s contractual and statutory rights to be reimbursed for the cost of enforcing its claims. We have won appeal court rulings in Ontario establishing a law firm’s ability to recover collection fees for its clients.
This ability to recover costs is a big plus to clients. Because they can count on the costs of collection being substantially recovered from suit-worthy debtors, we carefully investigate each claim and recover what the delinquent debtor is able to pay, not what he or she volunteers to pay. The client pays no fee if there is no recovery, as with a collection agency. Where recovery is possible, our recovery rate is significantly higher as we often collect the full amount owing and much of the cost of collecting it.
We invest our legal expertise and time based on what we can recover from the debtor, not what we can charge the client on an hourly basis. We only recommend pursuing matters in court that we are confident will have a pay-off at the end; if our judgment is wrong, the client pays no fees. That includes defeating groundless counter-claims and appeals. We recover more than the competition because we do not recommend a discounted settlement where there is ability to pay in full and we never close a file without completing skip- and asset-tracing.