You may find yourself wondering what the difference is between a debt collector and a lawyer.
If your owed money and wish to pursue action against your debtor, it is important to know which suits your situation. Circumstances regarding your situations will differ from others and, in any legal matter, knowledge is key.
It is recommended to talk to a professional to discuss which option suits you, but some basic knowledge can benefit you greatly!
What is a Lawyer?
A lawyer is an individual responsible for the assistance and representation of clients in legal circumstances. They are often employed for the purpose of a professional opinion and inform clients of their rights and responsibilities, or obligations, in the field of law.
They apply the law to specific circumstances in cases and try to create the optimal outcome for clients.
Regarding debt recovery, a solicitor’s knowledge of the legal system may be significantly more extensive, so strategy and reasoning can be more effective with a lawyer.
A debt collection lawyer will generally attempt to negotiate debts to maximise results for clients while simultaneously minimising legal costs for clients.
A solicitor must always act in the best interest of their client and not pursue personal gain at the cost of the client. They must also act in a timely manner, meaning they must act in the most time efficient way they find possible.
What is a Debt Collector?
A debt collector is an individual or company responsible for the recovery of unpaid debts due to clients, especially when said debts are past due. Businesses will generally hire debt collectors to prevent costs spent pursuing those with overdue debts, as debt collectors are generally more cost friendly.
Regarding debt recovery, they are generally more knowledgeable as the basis of their business is exactly that. They are also specialists in debt, so may have higher success rates in retrieving creditors’ unpaid debts than other alternatives.
Debt recovery by debt collectors in Queensland is governed by The Queensland Office of Fair Trading. This requires debt collectors to follow specific guidelines while pursuing clients’ needs.
Debt collection agencies will offer a “no win, no fee” model, meaning if they are unable to recover your debts you will not be required to pay.
Most debt collectors are required to be licensed or registered. This applies if their work includes:
- Repossession (locating and recovering goods)
- Collecting debts in person
- Serving documents
This does not apply if their work only consists of:
- Collecting debts
- Contacting debtors in a remote fashion (over the phone etc)
They are generally required to assist clients to the best of their ability in the fastest, most efficient manner they can manage.
Their responsibilities consist of:
- Collect unresolved debts from clients
- Managing various accounts for debt collection purposes
- Locate and contact individuals with unpaid debts to creditors
- Maintain files on debtors
- Maintain records on any offending debtors
Advantages of Working with a Debt Collector:
- Recovery time: Debt collectors generally work on a commission, meaning they will usually recover your debts in the fastest manner possible! If you want your debts returned faster, a debt collector may be the way to go.
- Cost: Depending on the size of debts, the cost of a debt collector may be smaller than the cost of hiring a lawyer.
- Freedom: When debt collectors take on your case, they will take on all requirements and responsibilities regarding the debt that you previously had, leaving you free to do whatever you please, stress free!
Advantages of Working with a Lawyer:
- Enforcement Abilities: Lawyers have full ability to bring debtors to court if needs be, meaning depending on your situation and debtor, a lawyer may be able to enforce a payment in court.
- Cost: As aforementioned, debt collectors generally work on a commission, taking a percentage of your recovered debt. Lawyers however generally work on an hourly basis, meaning depending on the size of your debt, a lawyer may save you funds.
- Knowledge: A lawyer will usually have a more extensive knowledge of the legal system, meaning their understanding of debt recovery, negotiation, settlement, etc may be better than a debt collectors, benefitting you as a debtor.
Debt recovery is an important factor in maintaining a business, so it is vital to consider your options! It is highly recommended to seek legal assistance before deciding which option, debt collector or lawyer, works for you and your situation.