When you've been left out of pocket by a non-paying client, it's only natural that you should want to claim back what is rightfully yours.
So how do you know who to trust? We spoke to Dodgy Dave the Debt Collector - a prime example of the kind of person you probably don't want to trust with your money.
How do your customers find you?
DD: Well, it's easy to get customers when they're desperate, innit? Either my keyword-crammed website comes up in their search results, or I get lucky and spam fax them just as they're on the edge of going bankrupt. Either way, I'm quids in.
Do you do any other 'inbound marketing' besides spam faxing?
DD: Oh yeah, you've got to, right? I stick to what other people would call 'spam'. Every communication I send out is a chance for more suckers - er, I mean 'prospects' - to come my way. It doesn't cost too much, as I just buy massive, unfiltered mailing lists and send the same email to everyone. Most of them won't be interested, but if a handful reply, it makes me plenty of profit.
And where does this profit come from?
DD: Well, most businesses would rely on reclaiming the client's debt and then, once they've done what they're supposed to do, collecting a small fee or a percentage of the funds. But only monkeys work for peanuts. What I do is, I cut out the middle man - I take an upfront fee from the
suckers clients and run off into the dust. Maximum profit, minimum effort.
We offer loads of services, and they're all pretty sweet:
Guaranteed debt collection, just a one-off, one-time deposit of £2,000. No obligation.* *Although, you're obliged to pay the £2,000, which is non-refundable. No time limit on the guarantee, but we'll try to have your money back by Doomsday.
Use our step-by-step service to save on costs. No obligation.* *Although, you're obliged to pay £500 per step for at least 10 steps. Non-refundable. Additional steps may be required.
New to debt collection? We'll guide you through it.* *Well, we'll guide you through the most expensive steps possible. Non-refundable. No guarantees. And so on...
110% Money Back Guarantee* *100% chance you won’t get your money back plus a 10% chance we will charge you more!
See? It's a no-risk business. For us I mean, not for the suckers.
So you don't actually reclaim the funds?
DD: Depends on my mood, really. I mean, if it's a quiet day, I might send the boys round. It's the client who'll get lumbered with the reputation of being aggressive and ham-fisted, after all, while I stick the reclaimed money in my bank account.
Usually they can't even tell if I've got the money back, and if they do come knocking at my door, we'll have scarpered anyway. I get CCJs and winding-up petitions more often than I get new business cards, and once the assets have been transferred to the new company, the suckers have no chance of getting their
non-refundable deposits back.
What if a 'sucker' tracks you down?
DD: If they manage to find me, I'll try to deny everything, or
fob them off offer them top-notch customer service like "the cheque's in the post". It never is, but they don't know that. Gives me chance to complete my next company incorporation, y'see.
You hear talk of people "hanging around like a bad smell", but in my case there won't even be a smell lingering in the air. The only evidence you might find that I ever existed will be about 20-30 County Court Judgments against me. Nobody takes any notice of those though, do they?
I suppose not... so once they've paid the deposit, your clients never hear from you again?
DD: Er... not quite. It'd be a shame to waste all of those credit card details, right? And I've got to pay all my
accomplices staff and keep them sweet, too. So we work a 'golden goodbye' system. It's a bit like a golden handshake, only it's at the end of the process - we do a little smash and grab on your bank account, and run off into the sunset. Most of these suckers are on the verge of bankruptcy anyway, so we may as well get the last of their money before they go totally bust.
Besides, it all goes into the coffers for my next
dodgy debt collection company to rise triumphantly, like a phoenix from the ashes, all ready to charge into business head-first!
This interview is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to real people or companies is coincidental - but this kind of person is out there, and we'd hate for you to fall victim to them when you're at your most vulnerable.
In the next post our MD Sid Home will have some top tips for ensuring you don't get caught out by Dodgy Dave and his colleagues.
Over 150 Years Of Industry Experience
Our modest but highly skilled team has a combined total of over 150 years of experience in commercial credit management and B2B debt collection. From independent IT contractors to major film and TV publishers, Safe Collections has the knowledge and experience you need to get paid quickly and cost effectively.
Images "Dplanet_NoPictures(lo-res)" & "Commodify" by flickr user Dplanet are licensed under CC BY 2.0