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  • How far do you go to collect?

    We all have to do collections calls, we send out the required notices, we ad the late fees, pre-lien and lien fees, at some point depending on where you live (every state has a different time line) you cut the lock, inventory unit ,take pics and eventually sell it at auction if no payment is received from the tenant.
    What I would like to know- is before the auction and after you have exhausted all the contact information the tenant gave you- do you go above and beyond that to try and find them? Do you see if they have a social media page and send them a private message? Do you call the alternate contact and give them details of the tenants account? Do you look at the jail roster?Do you call their employer? I feel like at some point we should be able to say we did what the law requires, and that should be enough. All the extra stuff just feels like stalking to me, borderline illegal.... What are your thoughts?
    Last edited by wc1974; 20th January 2020, 03:45 PM.
    You Laugh, I laugh. You cry, I cry. You take my coffee...may God have mercy on your soul....

  • #2
    Lol, right? However I never call the work number because I was taught by my first manager that bugging tenants at work can incur loads of legal issues that you don't want to mess with.
    Even duct-tape can't fix stupid. But it can muffle the noises.

    WA State

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    • #3
      I will call their employer as a last resort. We also call alternate contacts if we haven't heard from them right before lock cuts. I will only call employers once and do not give details about the account. I just let them know we are trying to reach an employee name so-and-so and we would appreciate if they could relay the message to call us back...same is said to the alternate contact. I know in the state of Texas, if we are asked by the tenant to stop calling their employer, we have to or we could face some consequences. I have resorted to social media at one point, but could not find the tenant. It just so happens, her nephew stores with us too so we were able to get in touch with her and have her relinquish the units to us. I'm with you on the stalker-ish feeling, but the least they could do is relinquish their unit to us so we can stop calling and emailing them. Then there are some I just think "whatever, we're just gonna sell your stuff" because I don't feel like I should have to hunt them down; as long as I have done everything else according to our lien laws.

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      • #4
        I start with a 7 day letter, advising of gate lock out, than at 10 days when they are actually locked out. If they are a new tenant I will try calling at around 15 days . Our tenants all receive an email when they rent a unit giving a breakdown of the important aspects of their lease, payment due date, etc. I have 600 tenants and I' don't believe I'm a babysitter. Our contract is clear what happens, when it happens . I do believe that contacting people via social media for collections is illegal. I recall reading an article to that effect. Our lease also states that collection letters are sent via email. The last letter that goes out is the Auction Letter and If I have an address that may be legit it goes out registered mail and by email.

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        • #5
          Ny lovely bride sends all of the requisite letters. She also does a "courtesy" 15 day phone call. I will call all of the "tougher" calls. I will call the alternate numbers, but never their work. I never share account information with anyone else.

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          • #6
            We have a pretty aggressive collections 'schedule' that we follow, that includes both our actions (calls, emails, letters) and automated processes (texts, emails), with contact being attempted every 2-3 days. I leave messages at all provided (and still working) numbers up until the day before auction, unless I actually speak to someone who tells me to stop calling.
            "Anything worth doing, is worth doing right." ~Hunter S. Thompson

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            • #7
              Do what your lien laws require, try all of the phone numbers you have on file, even the work number. BUT, just leave a message stating something innocuous like "Hi, it's Susie, remember me, we worked on something together at XYZ storage, can you give me a call back please? It's REALLY important."

              Most times you'll get someone answering that when you ask to speak with Joe Tenant, they'll respond with "Who?" Or "he hasn't worked here for two years." Keep it in your notes, document and move on to auction. You tried. I agree with you, I won't stalk people on social media. Just use the methods they gave you and you've done what's required. That's just my opinion though.
              Gina 6k
              twitter.com/GinaSixKudo
              VM: Four-Oh-Eight- Seven-Eight-Oh-Eight-Oh-Seven-Nine
              [email protected]



              You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
              I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KrisinNC View Post
                Lol, right? However I never call the work number because I was taught by my first manager that bugging tenants at work can incur loads of legal issues that you don't want to mess with.
                If they offer and list their office number as an alternative contact, I will call!
                Absolutely I would call!
                And yes, I do use the internet in an attempt to find them on social media especially if a particular tenant has not been late before or if it was out of the norm that we hadn't heard from them.

                Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

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                • #9
                  When we are a few days from auction and I've been unable to reach them via all the contact info we have, then I will jump on Facebook to see if I can at least make contact.

                  I have been successful a few times, and though I didn't get a payment from that, at least it showed that I made contact and they couldn't deny that they knew they were about to be sold.

                  I do this because I have the time to do it. If I were at a newer facility that is less full and therefore busier, then it wouldn't be a priority.
                  MamaDuke

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                  • #10
                    I call and text the numbers on file and email them. If they have an alternate contact, I call them, but don't discuss particulars of the account except the total due if they're willing to pay the rent. Generally the call is me telling the alternate who I am and asking them to have the customer call me asap.

                    I'm not going to try and hunt anyone down on social media. If a customer changes their phone number, mailing address and their email address and doesn't notify me, that's on them. They will either remember they have a storage unit and get a hold of me, or the unit will go to auction.
                    A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

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                    • #11
                      I have told this story before but it is still my best collection by far!

                      Daily, I make my bank run and on the way back to the office I stop at the local Wawa (coffee/sandwich shop)
                      As soon as I walk in I spot him over by the potato chips!
                      I know he saw me walk in because he ducked behind the Pringles!
                      I walk straight to him and say "Hi Jonathan, you got the rent money?"
                      He looks up like a deer in the headlight moment and stammers "oh hey, I was just going to stop by after leaving here, how much do I owe you?"
                      To which I say, "does it look like I have the computer attached to me hip? It is like $300."
                      He goes, "can I just give you the $300 now in cash so that I can go straight back to work?"
                      Sure I say and put out my hand for 3 crisp $100 bills!!!



                      Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

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                      • #12
                        We've developed a looooong but specific checklist to follow leading to auction and will typically try to resolve collections on a much slower schedule than the law requires here. In addition to a healthy respect for the litigation propensity of our time, we are also in a very small, tight-knit town where much of the business is word-of-mouth reputation. If we were across the Sound in the big city, it would be totally by the book and auction off at 90 days sans forgiveness. Here we have to use our best judgment about the possible negative consequences--legal or otherwise--of how we handle collections. Gentle reminders frequently given seem to work best.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wc1974 View Post
                          We all have to do collections calls, we send out the required notices, we ad the late fees, pre-lien and lien fees, at some point depending on where you live (every state has a different time line) you cut the lock, inventory unit ,take pics and eventually sell it at auction if no payment is received from the tenant.
                          What I would like to know- is before the auction and after you have exhausted all the contact information the tenant gave you- do you go above and beyond that to try and find them? Do you see if they have a social media page and send them a private message? Do you call the alternate contact and give them details of the tenants account? Do you look at the jail roster?Do you call their employer? I feel like at some point we should be able to say we did what the law requires, and that should be enough. All the extra stuff just feels like stalking to me, borderline illegal.... What are your thoughts?
                          In Central Florida here. I would not go to social media or employer. I DO however check to see if they've been put in jail as I've served client's their documents in jail. Keep in mind if you go onto their social media and give them a message, they now have yours too! Not Me! In our business, it is not wise to give the alternate contact details of the tenants account unless the person offers to pay it - then I will give them the total due. I had a customer's mother offer to pay the total and then asked if I could waive fees. No I can not. He took on the rental of the unit and knew that fees were involved if payment was not made. Signed contract states the same.
                          Throw kindness around like Confetti - But don't get glitter in your eyes!

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                          • #14
                            They know the rent is due. If your management software is able to integrate SMS like SiteLink does (we use SMS Resources), I often find that voicemails, letters, and emails will be ignored, but we often get a callback within 60 seconds of sending them a short text reminding them, for example, that their lock is going to be cut in a few days.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RMRSS View Post
                              They know the rent is due. If your management software is able to integrate SMS like SiteLink does (we use SMS Resources), I often find that voicemails, letters, and emails will be ignored, but we often get a callback within 60 seconds of sending them a short text reminding them, for example, that their lock is going to be cut in a few days.
                              You would be surprised how many people are SHOCKED that the rent is due every month! LOL When I talk to them on the phone they say "but I just paid you last week!" Yes, you did. And when you paid you were already 3 weeks past due. The rent is now due again. "But how is that fair, I mean I just paid you! Doesnt the 30 days start over when I pay you?" SMH Some of these people make it really, really hard for me to refrain from being snarky.......
                              You Laugh, I laugh. You cry, I cry. You take my coffee...may God have mercy on your soul....

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