Q: What information does your agency need to start the collection process?
A: SODA – Statement of Move-out Charges, Applications, Leases/ Most recent, Co-signer Agreement, Roommate agreements: Initial and release, Deposit Agreements: Holding/Cleaning, Pet, Last Months Rent, etc, Pet addendums, Documents/letters of complaint, Legal notices: 3-Days, Eviction, Judgments, etc. Notice to Vacate, Receipts for any work done after move-out, and any pictures you have taken after move out.
Q: Is it helpful to have pictures of an apartment?
A: You know the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and in Pierce and Snohomish County courts are requiring more proof pertaining to the debt. The bigger amount of proof you have on your side the more likely a judgment will be awarded in your favor.
Q: How important are receipts for work done?
A: With more counties becoming debtor friendly you should keep all receipts for any work done in units. The more amount of proof you have the better the chances if we go to court.
Q: How do my files get to your office?
A: You can get files to us in a variety of ways. If you are in one of our service areas (see your Account Representative) then we would be happy to pick up your files. You can always fax files to us. And, if you would like to we also have web services wherein you can submit files by a) single file entry or b) scan & file upload.
Q: What happens to a file once it reaches your office?
A: Our trained staff of collectors inputs the files so that way they become intimate with the file. Then the file is scanned into our network so that we can pull the account without having to locate the file. This ensures that we are working on your file with the utmost efficiency possible.
Q: If I send an account that is an eviction judgment how do you proceed?
A: It begins like a regular file meaning we exhaust all possible resources before putting them into the legal department. The thing that is different about eviction judgments is that we do not need to notify the debtor before we garnish their wages or bank accounts.
Q: When is the account put onto the tenant’s credit report?
A: The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) states that we are able to update their credit to show they owe a balance after one month of being in our office. By federal law we have to give them 30 days to dispute the charges. CDR reports to all 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian).
Q: How do you locate a former tenant?
A: We are able to locate them through various sources and technology. CDR uses the latest technology available to locate for our clients.
Q: What kind of technology does CDR use to “skip trace?”
A: CDR uses everything from using a reference, pulling a Dtec, Accurint, internet tools, and good old fashion research to name just a few of our resources!
Q: How often does a collector attempt to find a debtor that the status is skipped?
A: At CDR we try to locate a skipped debtor every 3-6 months. There are many circumstances to consider when “skip tracing” a debtor and they are: dollar amount of the debt, were they homeless when they moved in, are there any references on the application etc.
Q: If a resident moves out of State can CDR collect outside of the States of Washington?
A: Yes, we can and we do! There are a handful of “No Contact States” that any collector cannot collect in, however, all the rest, we are able to successfully contact and collect from.
Q: What are the No Contact States and what does that mean?
A: The No Contact States are: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York City, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington D.C. When a debtor moves into a No Contact State it means that unless you are licensed and bonded in that particular state you are not allowed to contact them. All other States in the Union are OK to collect in, no matter what State the file is located from. CDR is working on being licensed & bonded in a number of the above mentioned States and we will keep you posted.
Q: Do you make payment arrangements with the tenants?
A: It varies by case, but if the payment offer is reasonable then yes we will accept the arrangement. If someone wants to pay $100/mo on a $4,000 account we will not accept that because it is unreasonable and it would take years to pay off. Our goal is to get our clients the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time by using everything within the limits of the law.
Q: When does an account proceed to the legal department?
A: After the account manager exhausts all possible resources and there can be no amicable resolution that is when the account can be forwarded to our legal department. To make sure that we are spending our time wisely we make sure there are assets that we can recoup the money and time spent on the accounts.
Q: What does it take to start garnishing on an account?
A: First there must be a judgment on the account and second there has to be a bank account or a place of employment.
Q: Why do I get legal documents to sign? Does it hold me liable?
AOJ- Assignment of Judgment means that you are assigning a judgment to CDR so they are able to execute on your behalf.
AOI- Assignment of Interest means you have turned over a file to CDR and you are giving them permission to collect/begin legal on behalf of the client.
Dec of Sum Cert- Declaration of Sum Certain is saying that to your knowledge you are saying the charges are true and correct/certain.
If you sign a legal document knowing the charges are wrong then yes you could be held liable. That is why here at CDR we hold ourselves to the highest standards because being wrong is NOT an option.
Q: Should I have any contact with the tenant once a file is turned over for collections?
A: Once a file has been turned over for collections it is because there has been no luck trying to collect in-house, and all other avenues have been exhausted. CDR asks that you do not have any contact with the debtor (even though they will try) because it opens you (the client) up for possible legal ramifications from those you are trying to help.
Q: When can an account be cancelled by CDR?
A: When the account has been listed in error, no social security numbers, if the social does not match the debtor, or they can prove someone stole their identity.
Q: What is your fee structure? NO COLLECTION FEE …
A: We are proud to say we do not charge you unless we collect! When we do collect, the fee is a 60/40 (60% for the client) split unless it goes to the legal department. Because we pay the legal fees upfront and out of pocket the fee becomes a 50/50 split.
Q: When can I expect to receive a check?
A: If we collect for your property on any given month you can expect your check to be delivered between the 15th and 20th of the following month.