We are bound by state and federal law in how we collect debts, depending on whether the account is an individual consumer or a commercial debtor. We are also bound by professional ethics.
We may have limited contact with the debtor and use this to confirm important information, such as location, employment and assets. We run credit reports to locate errant debtors and their assets.
The Process of Debt Collection in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, we file suit in several different courts, depending on the size of the debt, from small claims to district to superior courts. Once the debtor is served with the lawsuit, the clock begins to run in which the debtor has to dispute or defend the debt. We move our cases quickly to judgment, usually within no more than 60 days even for the largest debts over $10,000 in superior court.
We may obtain judgment by default because of no response or answer by the debtor, or by summary judgment, meaning the debtor has no defense to owing the debt. Once we obtain judgment, we order an execution, to lien real estate and personal property, attach bank accounts or garnish wags or to obtain a citation to bring the debtor before the judge to answer why the judgment has not been paid and to reveal financial records to obtain a court ordered payment plan.
We use every legal tool and procedure to prove and collect your debts.
Anatomy of Debt Collection
Laws: Fair Debt collection practices Act (state and federal)
-consumer debt only
-30 days notice and language on notice, ‘if no dispute, presume debt is valid’ just a warning
-limited and sometimes no more contact once notified. (just sue)
Process: initial demand with warning language
-contact or skip tracing
-confirmation of debt OR dispute, communicate w/ client
- payment plan
- final demand
Small Claims: $2500, speedy, automatic default
District Court: up to $10,000, less speedy, attorneys often represent, triggering discovery but faster and controlled trial dates.
Superior Court: above $10,000. If real dispute, years to trial.
-complaint tells a story of what happened and what is demanded.
Due Process required but only time in hand service needed.
-summary judgment: no material dispute of fact.
- Default Judgement.
-Discovery: answers to interrogatories and request for production of documents.
Cumbersome, anything that can lead to discoverable evidence.
-Summary judgment: no material dispute of fact.
Execution- served in hand.
Attachment: wages, bank account, real estate liens. Post Judgment=No notice
Citation: ability to pay