Frequently Asked Questions
- Q?Who will answer my routine questions?
- A.Your case is immediately assigned to one of our paralegals who will be available to you anytime you choose to call. The principal attorney, Ross Gelfand, along with associate attorneys, are available by phone (770-840-8482) to discuss intake, tactics and strategy, collection prospects, settlement status and similar important matters with you by phone. You may request status information from the assigned paralegal at any time and you will usually get a regular status report which will include a follow-up date. We invite you to call us to discuss your case when you want. You are the client and we are here to help you.
- Q?What if you can’t collect for me?
- A.While we collect on most of our cases, in the history of our practice there have been some cases where we can’t collect. Since collection is our business, cases are our inventory. We don’t want stale inventory or non-current inventory. If we are unable to collect, your case will be returned to you promptly. If your case is returned to you, you can take it to any other lawyer you select and we will relinquish any contingent fee interest. If we don’t feel we can collect, we don’t want to keep the case and continue devoting time toward it without optimism. Our only exceptions to waiver of contingent fees, if you request your case back after giving us a chance to attempt collection, is (as stated in our retainer agreements) when we are still actively pursuing a case and collection prospects are good or when a client directs us to discontinue for their own benefit, such as when the client has made a direct settlement and tries to avoid payment of our earned fee.
- Q?Is your law firm and agency bonded, insured and licensed?
- A.The law firm is licensed to practice law in the state of GA. We also have collection agency licenses in all states that require attorneys to be licensed as a collection agency. We also have a $500,000 fidelity bond and a $1,000,000 business liability policy through Hartford Insurance –policy #20 SBA TQ2184.
- Q?What is your success rate?
A.Our most frequent question is “Will you be able to collect my money?” Everyone wants someone who can say “YES”. We believe that if anyone can collect, we can. Because our business is debt collection and we are a national law firm, we collect more money, more often than most other third parties! Furthermore, our state of the art software as well as our highly trained collectors and paralegals make our success ratio higher. Our success rate depends on many things and even before we investigate and attempt your case, we can get a good idea of collection prospects. Certain cases, for example, are highly collectable while others have a low collection percentage.
High probability of collection success is often indicated by:
1. very recent debt; and/or
2. lavish life style of an individual debtor; and/or
3. operating businesses; and/or
4. excellent credit history; and/or
5. occupational or professional licenses of debtors; and
6. generally stable history; and/or
7. supportive family; and/or
8. strong financial statement or substantial asset ownership; and/or
9. history of reliance on obtaining credit; and/or
10. debts under $75,000.A lower probability of collection occurs in cases that are:
1. very old; and/or
2. against corporations that are out of business; and/or
3. against outright thieves, like those in jail or who are being chased by law enforcement; and/or
4. against those who have or will be filing for bankruptcy protection; and/or
5. against those people whose lifestyle tends to indicate no assets now or in the future, such as alcoholics, drug abusers, chronic gamblers, those chronically on welfare, the terminally ill; and/or
6. huge debts; and/or
7. large IRS tax liens.
- Q?How soon can you collect for me?
- A.Some cases are collected within the first 30 days and others are never collected. In general, most successful collections become apparent soon after our collectors begin dunning the debtor. Other times, the debtor pays immediately after the lawsuit is served, and generally we know if the collection will be easy, even if contested, within the first 120 days. While sometimes it is possible to delay in court for months to years, most collection cases are easy to win and harder to collect than regular court cases. That means that, even in a contested case, we can have a good projection for you rapidly.
- Q?Will you compromise my claim?
- A.Only you can approve a compromise! We will do our best to get all of your money and we won’t compromise your claim without your consent. If we get any written offer, we will communicate it to you for your decision. If we get any legitimate oral offer, we will also communicate it to you for your decision. Ultimately any settlement or compromise will be your decision.
- Q?Do you take payments?
- A.We always demand full immediate payment. Very frequently the threat of litigation or the filing of proceedings with the court gets the debtor to pay all of the debt immediately. In some circumstances, payments may be the only way to collect all of your money. If it becomes apparent that a debtor must make payments, or that we can get your money faster with voluntary payments than by waiting to fight in court, we will recommend a structure for the recovery of your money in such a way that you get it or we have the immediate right to seize assets and interrupt income stream. Remember, it will be your decision to accept Time payments.
- Q?Will I ever have to pay more than the initial cost deposit?
- A.On contingent fee cases when suit is recommended we normally request a cost deposit to cover the initial out-of-pocket costs of beginning your action. For example a new case will require a filing fee with the clerk of the court, fees to the process server, minor costs for the credit check, the preliminary asset database check, searches like a secretary of state search, a real property search or similar type minor costs. We are pleased to put our time into your collection action on a contingent fee basis as your partner. We request you show your confidence in your case by providing the funding for the costs and expenses. The typical case will be handled within the initial cost deposit. Any subsequent costs are similarly minor. If the case proceeds all the way to judgment, there may be minor charges for recording liens, obtaining orders for court appearances, and for the sheriff to seize a bank account. If we are required to seize major assets (such as cars, land, etc) which may require higher costs to the sheriff or others, we consult with you first for approval of any significant expenditures. Again, we will never file suit or advance court costs without your express permission.
- Q?What personal involvement will I have?
- A.When we get a new file, we conduct our investigation and file initiation. As part of that process, we will call and interview you on the phone for relevant facts, information, ideas, and tactics. We try to develop a feeling for who our target is and what the best way is to attack the target. We typically don’t require an initial meeting with our clients as there is no need on our part to hold a face-to-face interview in most cases. You are not required to visit our office or travel. Of course if you wish to meet us, face-to- face, we will be glad to meet with you at your convenience.
- Q?How do you disburse proceeds from my collection?
- A.All money collected is deposited to our “clients trust account”. After we are certain that the debtor’s payment has cleared, the money is disbursed to you and to us. We don’t get paid on contingent fee cases until you do so we are anxious to clear funds and disburse promptly. We usually disburse all cleared funds weekly. The Georgia State Bar Association has rigid and inflexible rules governing trust money. It must be held for the benefit of the client only and no commingling or inappropriate use is allowed. All of your funds are fully insured and held in FDIC designated beneficiary accounts.