Sunday, April 26, 2015

Communication is Key

Many of the past due debt situations I encounter could have been avoided with better communication between the parties.

Most commercial creditors are willing to be flexible with repayment if they are kept informed of a debtor company's financial situation when times are difficult.  These problems usually are the result of not being paid in a timely manner on their own accounts receivable, causing a domino effect.

When communication stops, commercial creditors have little choice but to escalate collection actions by sending demand letters, retaining outside collection agencies or attorneys and, eventually, filing lawsuits to collect.  By keeping the lines of communication open and explaining the reasons for late payments, a business owner can often avoid or delay these stepped up collection actions and retain desired relationships while they work to get their finances in order.

Scott F. Soape

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How Much of a Discount Can You Expect?

One of the most frequent questions I get is: "How much can you discount this debt?"  My answer is often: "It depends".

There are many factors that impact a settlement and every situation is unique, even when they entail a creditor company I have dealt with previously.  I never know what to expect until I consult with my client about the nature of the claim and I start settlement negotiations with the creditor or their agent.

Some creditors are more willing than others to compromise a debt and some are entirely unwilling to compromise at all.

Many times, creditors are more willing to agree to substantial discounts if a lump-sum payment is offered rather than an installment plan.  Also, if my client can prove a financial need by providing current financial documentation reflecting a lack of resources, some creditors will be more flexible.

I have encountered claims where I was able to negotiate a settlement for ten cents on the dollar as well as claims where the creditor insisted on reimbursement for all collection costs in addition to full payment of the principal amount.

However, my professional, aggressive approach to negotiations has resulted in a near 100% success rate with most settlements resulting in discounts between 20% to 80%.

In any event, the final settlement is always subject to my client's approval and acceptance before I earn my fee.

Scott F. Soape

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Agreed Judgments to Secure a Settlement

It is not uncommon for a commercial creditor's attorney to request an Agreed Judgment when they settle on a pending lawsuit.

An Agreed Judgment is basically an agreement from the debtor business that they owe a specified amount to a creditor without going to court. Typically it will include the original amount claimed by the creditor, attorney fees, back interest on the debt and court costs for filing the original lawsuit.

When a creditor agrees to an out-of-court settlement after filing a lawsuit, this is their collateral for the settlement in case the debtor defaults on the payment terms. They are primarily used when a payment plan is accepted by the creditor (rather than a lump-sum payment) and saves them from having to file a new lawsuit if the debtor business defaults on the payment terms with a settlement. Typically, the agreed judgment is dropped once all payments are received.  Often times, they are never filed of record as long as payments are made as agreed so they do not reflect on the client's credit report.  These are referred to as "pocket judgments".

Agreed Judgments are very common and should be expected under the above circumstances and are simply part of the deal with many out-of-court settlements.

Scott F. Soape

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How My Fee Works

Fees for my service are charged on a case-by-case basis and are based on the size and complexity of each individual case.  This is typically determined during an initial free consultation with a prospective client.

A fully refundable retainer for a portion of my fee is usually required before settlement negotiations can commence.  This retainer will be promptly refunded if I cannot reach acceptable settlement terms at the end of negotiations.

My fee is always contingent upon successful settlements which the client has approved before the full fee is due.  If I am unsuccessful for any reason, there is no charge for my efforts.

Fees are always agreed upon in advance and are included in the written agreement for my services.  In addition, written documentation for all settlements are provided to my clients for their review and approval before their fee is due.

The professional service I provide is of the highest quality and my clients may always be assured my best efforts to resolve their financial disputes to their complete satisfaction.

Scott F. Soape

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Get Your Free Credit Report

Everyone is entitled to a FREE annual credit report from the primary credit reporting agencies. Reviewing these reports on a regular basis allows people to spot errors and verify what is being reported to creditors. It also helps to prevent fraud.

 The official web site for this truly FREE request is People may request a free report from each of the 3 agencies every 12 months. You may also request a credit score at a nominal charge, but this is not required.

Since there are 3 different credit reporting agencies and you can only get 1 report from each per year, I recommend my clients request one report from each company every 4 months. This allows the company to make any changes needed with time for them to be reflected on the next requested FREE report from one of the other companies. Four months after the 3rd report is received, you can request a report from the 1st company again since 12 months will have passed. Staggering requests for FREE credit reports in this manner provides a snapshot of an individual's credit standing on 3 occasions throughout each year.

Scott F. Soape

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

I am starting the new year by creating this blog to address some of the issues I have encountered over the past 17 years while working as a professional commercial debt negotiator and to explain the benefits of my service.  Many issues addressed here are common to all of my clients and may help other business owners.

All of my clients are hard working business people that, for various reasons, find themselves facing past due or disputed debts.  Often, these claims have escalated to lawsuits by the time my services are retained.

Usually, these matters could have been avoided or at least mitigated by simply communicating with the other parties.

When my services are retained to work out settlements for these claims, my goal is always to negotiate the very best possible terms for my client.  However, not all creditors are willing to compromise on amounts they claim to be due and any settlement is always subject to their acceptance.  My job is not only to find the right fit for my client, but to present terms the creditor company will approve.

Please feel free to call me for a free consultation on any situation you may be facing.

Scott F. Soape