Bad debt is on the rise during the Covid-19 pandemic and many companies and individuals are struggling to collect payments from debtors.
Orion offers a full range of debt collection services and recommends the following staged approach to debt collection –
Stage 1 – Direct Negotiation – We recommend that clients exhaust all possible avenues of direct negotiation with their debtor to collect the debt before appointing a third party to collect the debt for them.
Stage 2 – Legal Demand for Payment – Once all reasonable attempts to settle the debt collection directly have failed, we recommend an initial legal notice demanding payment of the debt. The initial notice will be followed up on by our lawyers to determine the debtor’s position in terms of their willingness and ability to settle the matter. In many cases, the escalation to a lawyer is sufficient to prompt the debtor to settle the debt or at least agree to a payment plan.
Stage 3 – Investigation and Asset Searches – If legal notice is not sufficient to settle the matter then, before further escalation of the legal debt collection process, we recommend investigating the debtor’s current financial status to determine whether further legal work is likely to result in collection of the debt. The investigation will vary for individual and corporate debtors. For individuals, this may involve locating their current residence and conducting inquiries into their lifestyle. For companies, it may involve locating and visiting their place of business, determining the current volume of business and identifying assets owned by the company such as vehicles, property and machinery. “Throwing good money after bad” is a well-known proverb for a reason and investment in this stage of the process can help clients avoid this common mistake. Knowing that a debtor is facing genuine financial distress and understanding their situation better, may also inform a debtor that accepting a longer payment plan than they had initially been willing to accept may be the best option.
Stage 4 – Further Legal Demands for Payment – Armed with the information obtained in Stage 3, a final attempt at a negotiated settlement can be made. Having a better understanding of the actual financial situation of the debtor will allow the client to make a more informed decision on acceptable agreements. The client has the option to consider a longer term payment plan for genuinely distressed debtors or hold a firmer line in the negotiation for financially stronger debtors.
Stage 5 – Legal Notice of Intent to File Court Proceedings – If further negotiation still doesn’t result in collection of the debt, a final notice will be issued informing the debtor of our intention to file legal proceedings to collect the debt within a specified date. We only recommend making such a threat when there is intention to go through with the filing. If made without a genuine intention and the debtor calls our bluff, then our negotiation position is seriously undermined through the false threat.
Stage 6 – Court Proceedings – If final attempts at negotiation fail, then the only option for escalation is court proceedings which require court fee deposits and preparation of evidence and other legal documents by lawyers. Thai courts will generally schedule multiple rounds of mediation before setting trial dates, so a negotiated settlement can still be reached after the filing of court proceedings.
Stage 7 – Legal Execution – Even after courts have ordered a debtor to pay, some debtors continue to refuse to settle their debts. In these cases, we are required to escalate the matter to the Legal Execution Department. This process can be long and challenging with the onus on the debtor to identify assets to be seized by the department, but with perseverance and focus, the debt can finally be collected.
Orion’s lawyers and investigators have extensive experience in asset searches and debt collections in Thailand through negotiations and legal proceedings. If you are struggling to collect a debt, please contact us for a free initial evaluation of your situation and recommendations on appropriate follow up.