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Collections Law/Outstanding Customer Account

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Question
QUESTION: I work at a granite fabricator in Chantilly, VA where we install granite countertops for kitchens and baths. On July 8, 2013 a customer's account was due. This particular customer is refusing to pay, claiming the countertop was incorrect and her cabinets were damaged during installation of her kitchen countertops. However, she does not have any proof and is not able to provide pictures of the damaged cabinets. We have attempted to reach her multiple times, in which she does not answer our calls except once when I called her from my personal cell because she did not have my number registered with the company. When we were able to contact her through my cell she said she was going to hire someone to replace her countertops and we could refund her deposit and pick up the countertop. It has been several months since the phone call and we have yet to hear anything from her. I would like to write a formal notification letter informing her of her outstanding account, but am not sure what is and is not allowed to be stated in the letter especially regarding notice of legal action if payment is not made. I need to write a letter that informs her that we are serious about receiving the remaining balance due. We also have proof that she owes the company with a quote that she signed for so there is a binding written agreement. Let me know if you need more or specific information. Thank you for your help.

ANSWER: All you need is a simple "demand" letter.  Dear " ", we have attempted to resolve this matter in an amiable manner and you have refused to cooperate.  We feel that we have been more than patient and are unwilling to carry this unpaid account any longer.  Unless payment in full is received in our office by the close of business on October __, 2014, we will be forced to forward this debt to our attorney for resolution.

This letter is very simple and to the point. There is no need to bring up the fact that she is not happy with the work.  It is her responsibility to prove this not yours.  Be prepared to do what you say you are going to do. At this point, it seems that taking her to court will be the only way to get her attention.

If this is not what you had in mind please let me know and I will assist you further. I wish you well in this matter.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: We are trying to avoid having to take legal action as we are a small company. I would like to make sure that the letter that is mailed to her explains that we are no longer "playing games" and are serious about receiving the remaining balance.

Answer
First, I am so sorry for the delay!  My system failed to notify me of your follow up request. I never take longer than a day to respond.  Now to you comment. If the balance is $5,000.00 or less, you can file in Small Claims Court for $20.00 to $50.00. with out having an attorney involved.  Here are a couple of websites that you might find useful:

http://www.courts.state.va.us/resources/small_claims_court_procedures.pdf

http://research.lawyers.com/virginia/va-filing-a-small-claims-suit.html

Again, I am so sorry this took so long. I do not know why I was not notified, but I will certainly find out!  Good luck with your case. If I can be of further assistance please let me know.

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Ray A Miller

Expertise

I am qualified to answer questions on the following subjects: FDCPA, FCRA and HIPAA as well as medical collections, general collections and collection agency related issues. I trained these subjects at a nationwide collection agency and customer service call center and audited around 150 representatives for compliance to the laws. I have been in the Collections Industry for over 30 years. I feel that everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with compassion and that is the way I trained collectors. Even though I worked for a Collection Agency, I get great satisfaction in helping those who have been mistreated or in need of help with these confusing issues.

Experience

I was the Compliance Administrator with a nationwide collection agency and customer service call center-I have trained hundreds of collectors on the above referenced topics. I have been in the medical collections industry for over twenty years and research these topics on a daily basis.

Organizations
ACA International

Education/Credentials
Some college ACA Certified Collection Specialist

Past/Present Clients
I am retired due to medical conditions and spend a good deal of time keeping current on collection issues.

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