In a difficult economy, collections have become an increasing challenge for Illinois businesses of all types. Many businesses struggle to collect past due accounts and do not know where to turn when customers simply refuse to pay. But the Clinton Law Firm can help business clients collect the monies they are rightfully owed. Our Chicago business collection lawyers understand the legal tools available to recover debts. Our combined 50 years of legal experience allows us to utilize effective debt collection strategies while remaining within the confines of the law.What a Chicago Commercial Debt Collection Lawyer Can Do
Our Chicago collections attorneys aggressively pursue delinquent business debtors to collect receivables and amounts owed to our business clients. In some cases, a soft touch can facilitate collection from financially troubled customers. Our Chicago collections attorneys can attempt to negotiate with a debtor who has refused to make timely payments. But when intractable parties simply refuse to pay, an aggressive and effective Chicago commercial litigation attorney can get results. Please note that we do not collect consumer debts from individuals and, as such, are not subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692-1692p.
At the Clinton Law Firm, our experienced business collection lawyers in Chicago diligently pursue debtors through litigation. But we also strive to resolve collection issues in a cost-effective manner. We understand that collection matters can be very delicate, but we also know that it’s necessary to make it clear that the business is serious about collecting and will not allow non-payment to slide.We Have a Record of Success in Collection Matters
The Chicago business collection attorneys of the Clinton Law Firm use a balance of tact, legal knowledge, confidence and creativity to successfully collect on delinquent accounts even in a difficult economy. We understand the collection process and the tools debtors try to use to avoid their obligations. To schedule a consultation and discuss your case with a knowledgeable Chicago business law attorney, call us at 312.357.1515 or contact us online today.The Information We Need To Assess Your Collection Matter
We review each potential case before we agree to accept it. What is most helpful to us in a collection situation is (a) the written agreement between the parties; (b) documents or emails showing delivery if goods are involved or acceptance if software or an intangible product is delivered; (c) invoices from you to the customer; and (d) any correspondence or emails between you and the customer.
If any of the items listed above is missing, your case may require more thought and attention. If there is no written contract, we may be able to prove an oral contract. If the written contract was sent to the other party but never signed, we may be able to prove that the unsigned written contract best describes the legal relationship between the parties.
If you cannot show that the goods were delivered or the service accepted by the customer, it may prove more difficult to collect. We would need to obtain admissible evidence that the goods were delivered and accepted. Or we would need to prove that the service you rendered was accepted by the customer. Many companies request that the customer sign a receipt so that there is no issue that the goods were delivered. If you are in the software business, you should require the customer to accept the license terms and agree that the software was delivered in good working order. These receipts will defeat many common defenses that a debtor may present.
We are also interested in reviewing the correspondence between you and the customer. Did the customer make a complaint? Did the customer demand a reduction in price? These are important questions to review before you file a lawsuit.
The legal theory in every collection case is almost always that the defendant breached a contract. To prove a breach of contract claim, the plaintiff must prove "(1) the existence of a valid and enforceable contract; (2) performance by the plaintiff; (3) breach of contract by the defendant; and (4) resultant injury to the plaintiff." Henderson-Smith & Associates, Inc. v. Nahamani Family Service Center, Inc., 323 Ill.App.3d 15, 27, 256 Ill.Dec. 488, 752 N.E.2d 33 (2001). As the court in Burkhart v. Wolf Motors of Naperville, 61 N.E.2d 1155 Ill. App. (2d) Dist. 2016, noted, “[a] valid and enforceable contract requires a manifestation of agreement or mutual assent by the parties to its terms, and the failure of the parties to agree upon or even discuss an essential term of a contract may indicate that the mutual assent required to make or modify a contract is lacking. Delcon Group, Inc. v. Northern Trust Corp., 187 Ill.App.3d 635, 643, 135 Ill.Dec. 212, 543 N.E.2d 595 (1989).” While the quoted language is slightly murky, it means that you will do best if your contract is clear and easy to understand.
Breach of Contract cases can be easy to prove if the contract between the parties is in writing and is easy to understand. In a collection case, the “breach” is the failure to pay for the goods delivered or the services that were rendered.
Finally, before filing any collection case, you should attempt to determine whether the business debtor is solvent.