Foreign entities with accounts receivable from USA businesses can recover money by hiring an American collection agency.
Companies from Japan, China, Europe, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, Singapore and India can recover money from Americans with adequate supportive documentation. This includes exporters, importers, equipment manufacturers, technology companies, and medical collections.
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How does it work?
- Signed contracts and communication in the English language that proves that the debt is owed. That documentation should be valid in USA courts.
- Debt should ideally be more than 30,000 dollars.
- All documentation should be shared in advance so that the compliance officer of the collection agency can evaluate if the collection is advisable.
- In cases where the compliance officer concludes that the case should be directly handled by an attorney ( rather than a commercial debt collector), the client must bear the court filing fee.
- Fee: All collection charges are contingency-based (It means the collection agency or the lawyer makes nothing unless they collect for you, they only keep a percentage of the amount collected). Contingency fee ranges from 25% to 50% depending on the complexity, age and balance of the debt.
- Not mandatory, but we prefer you to have a USA bank account so that the recovered funds can be transmitted to you electronically. The collection agency will deduct the wire transfer fee if money is sent internationally to your bank account.
- Not mandatory, but we prefer that you have a USA-based contact (your business associate, even an authorized friend) whom we can contact in case additional backup documents are needed or we need to discuss something related to the debt.
Collection activity is a slow and effective process. Trust your collection agency partner and never hide details pertaining to the case. Since they work on a contingency-based fee, there is nothing to lose.
What about debtors outside USA
Most USA-based collection agencies will not collect from foreign debtors or international businesses, because USA has some of the most regulated consumer protection laws compared to the rest of the world. The reasons include the following:
• Biggest legal challenge: Since contracts are generally signed in USA with a USA-based entity, but their debtor lives in a foreign country like the European Union, it can be tricky. To be safe, all collection agencies involved (domestic and international) should ideally be 100% compliant with both countries’ collection and data security laws (say USA and the European Union).
• Keeping up with a host of USA collection laws (FDCPA, GLBA, FCRA, TCPA etc..) is quite a task as all 50 states act like 50 countries ( separate collection laws and time zones). Laws in California are different from New York. Laws of New work are different from those in Nevada and Texas. Etc.
• US collection agencies strive to maximize collection rates for their clients ( with US debtors). Timezone can be another challenge if international collections are initiated from United States.
• Most international collection agencies have their coverage in USA (and sometimes in Canada). For debt recovery in other countries, they tie up with local agencies, agents, and lawyers. Technically, they are not licensed to work themself, so they outsource collections. We feel this is very risky.
For example, the latest law, “the GLBA” data security law, requires collection agencies to be approximately as secure as banks. Foreign countries do not locally enforce this law. This leaves US creditors at a great risk, each time they transmit patient data that will eventually flow to a foreign country. The foreign collection agent/lawyer may not follow GLBA, HIPAA and FDCPA laws. What if the foreign debtor hires a USA-based attorney and tries to sue the provider? Not sure how things change by each country. So a domestic collection agency generally opts to handle debtors in the USA only (that we understand very well), without using foreign entities.
• A better approach is to try to collect from the USA person/citizen who acted as a guarantor/cosigner of their foreign debtors/patients. Use Kinum Step 3 / Kinum Legal approach in such cases.