The trailer company had long provided rentals to their debtor. However, in recent months, the debtor had returned damaged trailers and refused to make payments. The debtor owed the trailer company $4,384 in past due payments and damage charges.
After numerous phone calls and emails trying to resolve the debt, one of the managers of the trailer company made an appointment with the owner of the company in debt, to meet in person. The appointment was made days in advance because the manager would have to drive four hours each way for the meeting.
After renting a car with better gas mileage and recruiting a co-worker to ride along, the manager and his co-worker headed north to meet with the debtors and resolve the issue face-to-face. The two left at 6 a.m. in order to arrive in time for the 11 a.m. They got lost once, but found their way to the location before the scheduled meeting time. When they introduced themselves, they were told that the primary decision maker was at an “emergency” dental appointment and would not be joining them; one of his associates (not a decision maker) would handle the meeting.
The manager recognized the fact that the primary decision maker was avoiding the debt discussion, but because they had travelled so far he refused to leave with the problem unresolved. There were discussions, documentation was shown, and the non-decision maker made numerous calls to his boss to approve certain items. When the manager informed the employee that the bottom line was that the company owed him $4384, the employee called his boss (supposedly at the dentist). Despite the number of calls and emails exchanged previously and in spite of the fact that they had driven four hours each way only for the decision maker to stand them up, the employee was told to come back with a counter offer. “For the sake of our long-term business relationship, would you settle for $4000?”
The manager agreed, just to end the discussion once and for all, and they left for their four-hour return drive home.
Had the manager chosen to bring in a collection agency, things would have gone differently. Here’s how:
- The manager and his co-worker would not have spent eight hours in the car and two hours in a meeting that day, essentially spending a total of 20 man-hours recovering funds for business done in the past.
- The company would not have had to pay for gas and rental car fees.
- The vendor-client relationship would not have been so strained.
- The decision-maker with a tendency to avoid would have been found.
- The 9% deduction in payment from the debt would have gone toward debt recovery fees instead of the negligent client.
- The collection agency would not have settled for less money because they would not have been as frustrated and ready to have the debt settled as the manager was.