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[ Focus: Debt recovery ]

members of the ECA over most of the last decade. During that period of time, we have collected far in excess of £10m for registered members – much of it collected free of any charges to members themselves. This represents more than 10 million good reasons for you, as a member, to consider putting the scheme to good use on behalf of your own businesses. Here, we outline how the ECA Debt Recovery Service can work for you…

What is the ECA Debt Recovery Service and how does it work? The ECA’s Debt Recovery Service is available to all registered members and is simple to use. The ECA funds a letter- before-action scheme, enabling Effective Credit Collections Limited – which operates the scheme – to issue a letter of demand on behalf of the member requesting payment of the member’s overdue account. Simply contact the ECA or Effective Credit Collections

Limited and, as first time users, provide us with your membership credentials, and we can establish your entitlement to access the scheme. Then just complete a simple form, or email direct instructions to us, and let us seek payment of your overdue application, unpaid invoice or retention monies. This initial letter of demand is always free of charge to

ECA members. The subsidised cost of the communication is paid for by the ECA on your behalf. A significant number of cases are resolved by this method – either by the member receiving payment by return or by resuming a dialogue with the customer as a result of the escalation of the collection process, leading to a resolution of the account.

It should be noted, of course, that the scheme provides

In all your dealings with a customer, say what you mean and mean what you say

for the initial letter of demand to be provided free of charge, but that any additional or ancillary work is liable to be paid for.

What if the letter before action is not enough? While we hope that a written request for payment will be enough to secure payment, this is, unfortunately, not always possible. At this stage, Effective Credit Collections is able to offer its full range of collection services to members, including telephone collections, the preparation of further written communications and, ultimately, the commencement of formal legal collection procedures. These attract charges for the work done, and details in this respect are set out on the ECA website. However, the hourly reduced charging rate of £135 per hour, plus VAT, is less than half the hourly rate you could reasonably expect to pay on the open market – and it is a figure that has remained constant since work under the scheme began almost a decade ago. Additional work may be required in any number of different

circumstances, and we can ensure the resolution of cases in a relatively short period of time or, if required, become embroiled in lengthy and strongly contested litigation. Our philosophy is always to seek to provide you with the best advice we can and to ensure that, economically, any resolution of a dispute is on the best potential terms available to you. We may not necessarily always tell you what you would

like to hear, but we will absolutely always tell you what you need to know.

September 2011 ECA Today 59

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