Tell-tale Signs of Deadbeat Debtor

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Boston – A produce supplier’s customer slowly starts making late and then stops making any payments. The customer starts displaying tell-tale signs of deadbeatitis – – “creative” and/or cliché excuses followed by communication black-outs followed by promises of payment which are quickly broken. Frustrated with the slowly rotting debt, the produce supplier calls me.

After researching the debtor’s assets, I prepare a complaint accompanied with ex parte (without notice) attachments motions. After the produce supplier signed its affidavits, I immediately filed suit and seek ex parte attachments attempting to freeze the customer’s personal property and bank accounts for pre-judgment security.

The Court elects not to allow the motions ex parte and requires notice to be given the debtor. After giving notice to the debtor, the Court allows the attachments. Knowing that most seriously delinquent debtors remove monies from their accounts upon notice, I focus on the personal property attachment. A personal property attachment is just that. A deputy sheriff appears at the debtor’s store, takes an inventory and posts a bright (usually orange) sticker on the store’s entrance displayed for all to see that the property was attached. Nothing brings home to the debtor the message that a creditor wants to get paid clearer than a visit from your friendly neighborhood deputy sheriff!

After the deputy sheriff serves the personal property attachment, the debtor calls and promised payment. The produce supplier agreed to the debtor’s proposed payment schedule and I prepared a proposed Settlement Agreement for the supplier and debtor to review. Knowing the debtor’s history of broken promises, I continued on with the case and default the debtor. I then bring a motion to assess damages against the debtor which the Court allows. Still no signed settlement agreement – – another broken promise which I had anticipated.

The debtor’s empty promises to sign the proposed settlement agreement morphed into further excuses for non-payment. Now armed with an execution, I sent the deputy sheriff back to the debtor’s store to make a demand for payment and to seize the debtor’s property. The debtor immediately told the deputy sheriff that it intends to pay the full amount in three payments. I instructed the deputy that upon his return to the debtor’s store that the deputy collects each of the payments as well as the entire sheriff’s costs from the debtor so that my client would collect the full amount of the judgment debt.

Upon the deputy sheriff’s return to the debtor’s store, he successfully collected the first payment from the debtor. Upon the deputy sheriff’s second visit, the deputy sheriff collected the second payment from the debtor which promptly bounced. I instructed the deputy sheriff to return to the debtor’s store and demand the second payment or seize the debtor’s personal property.  The sheriff successfully returned from the debtor’s store with the second payment.  Finally, the debtor made his third payment without incident.

As a result of my good relationship with the deputy sheriff’s office combined with my diligence and relentless actions to collect this outstanding debt, my client received the full amount of the judgment debt.

If you have a customer afflicted with deadbeatitis and are tired of the deadbeat shuffle of making broken promises and excuses for non-payment, call Boston trained commercial debt collection attorney Alan M. Cohen at 508-620-6900 or email at alanmcohen@collections-law.com