: Managing a successful business is not easy. The pressures of regulatory compliance, personnel management, competition, and product/service development, among others, can lead to a decreasing time allotment for bad debt follow-up and recovery. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain payment for your services. That’s where Optima can help.

Why use a collection agency?
Many debtors will pay a collection agency even though they never cooperated with the original creditor. The debtors often realize you are serious, or they don’t want a damaged credit rating, or they worry about the possibility of going to court. A collection agency often has resources and tools at its’ disposal that the original creditor does not have. Plus, collection agencies don’t spend time juggling current accounts receivables with past-dues. They can concentrate on collecting your bad A/R.

How long will it take for you to collect my money
The short answer is, it depends. Many accounts are simply uncollectible, as the debtor may skip, file a bankruptcy, pass away, or just refuse to pay. The age of the debt can also play a role in how long it takes to collect anything. If the debt is old and/or the debtor requires backup paperwork it can delay any collections.

If I decide to use your services, how do we get started?
Call us at (865) 862-1200 (toll-free 1-866-288-6980), send mail to us at: Optima Recovery Services, LLC., Attn: Sales, P.O. Box 52968, Knoxville, TN 37950-2968 or e-mail us at rpickle@optimarecoveryservices.com. We will have a few questions for you, advise you of our rate, and prepare to work for you! In many instances we can accept your accounts via e-mail (preferred).

What info would you need from me in order to get started?
1) Your company name, address, fax, phone, and e-mail. List a contact person and make sure it is clear what services your company performs. 2) The debtor's contact information such as name, address, any contact phone numbers, place of employment, etc. 3) Total amount owed and when the debt was created.

What debts can be placed for collection?
Valid debts incurred by your business that you can substantiate. We do medical, retail and commercial collection work. On small accounts (under $25) we will not spend a lot of time on phone calls and letters if we do not receive payment fairly quickly.

Is there a minimum number of accounts in order for you to get involved?
We prefer to do business with clients that place accounts regularly, usually monthly, on an ongoing basis. We will do business with you if you can do that, even if you only turn over a few at one time. If you only have one account or a very small number of accounts that you want to place on a 1-time basis, we usually recommend that you use an attorney or another agency.

How many accounts may be sent to collection at once?
No limit. Send as many as you have ready.

Do you purchase the debts from us or do you charge a percentage of the debt collected?
We charge our clients a percentage of the amount collected. If we collect nothing, you pay nothing. We do not purchase debt.

What is your fee?
Because we do a variety of collection work, we have a variety of fee schedules. Your fee would be based on the type of accounts you have (ex: medical, retail, commercial, etc), the balances you place, the number of accounts, and if they are first or second placements. Our rates are competitive with others in the industry but it is important to note that we are not, and will not be, the low-fee leader. As a client your focus should not be on which agency will give you the cheapest rate, but which agency actually returns the most money to you. Remember, you don’t pay us unless we collect money for you. Quality counts! The combination of collecting a higher percent for you than other agencies, putting more money in your pocket, and providing superior service and expertise more than outweighs any perceived benefit of hiring a company just because they will work for the lowest wage. You’ll never go wrong by hiring the best!

Do you have any requirements for us?
The most important requirement we have is that you report to us if a debtor pays you directly. It is illegal for us to try to continue to collect once they have paid either you or us. Once you place the account with us, you must stop all in-house collection activity, cease sending monthly statements and discontinue the accrual of any interest. If you receive notice of a bankruptcy, contact us immediately as well. Also, don’t be surprised when people who have been avoiding you start paying us. It is no reflection on anything you did or didn’t do, it’s just the reality that collection agencies can make a difference. Conversely, debtors will often contact you after they receive the first collection notice or call, asking you to take the account back. Don’t fall into this trap! For months they were silent, never paying a dime. When you place them for collection, all of a sudden you become the “good guy” and we are the “bad guy”. Always remember, we work thousands of accounts…for FREE, i.e. we aren’t able to collect them. Nothing is more disheartening to a collector who is working for commission than having a client pull an account back that is going to pay, or may already have been paid. We don’t begrudge you all the work we do for you that nets us nothing. We simply ask you not to begrudge us the money we are due for accounts we do collect. Collecting BALANCE IN FULL is validation of our collection staff’s work, and we want to do that over and over for you.

What documents do we need to give you to support the debt?
We would need a copy of a contract if you have one, or an invoice or statement that details the amount owed. We would also need to have the debtor contact information on it, such as address, phone, work phone, e-mail, and anything else relevant.

How long should I wait before I turn my accounts over for collection?
You can turn them over whenever you like. As mentioned below, accounts become more difficult to collect with age. Just remember, the sooner we get them, the sooner YOU start seeing money.

Does the age of the debt make it more difficult to collect?
Yes, the older a debt is, the harder it is to collect. If it is a medical account and an insurance filing was missed then the timely-filing deadline becomes an issue as well.

Do you have any estimates of average recovery rates that we can expect?
This would depend on the number of accounts placed, the average dollar amount, the age, the type of account and if they are first or second placements. If, for example, the accounts are all 90 days old and you have good addresses and phone numbers, the chances of recovery are high. On the other hand, accounts that were made 3 years ago and are second placements are very tough to liquidate. Optima has an excellent recovery rate and we have been told by some of our clients that we have collected money for them that other agencies could not.

Are there any guarantees of payment?
No, we cannot guarantee payment, but we will try our best to get your money for you.

What is your collection process?
Once you place an account with us, we send an initial collection letter to the debtor(s) letting them know the account has been placed with us, who the creditor is (you) and how much is owed. In this letter, per law, we must also let them know that they have 30 days to dispute the debt or request verification. In most instances, this letter is sent the same day we get your accounts. We send you an acknowledgement of all the accounts that you list with us. We then begin to call them. We cannot demand payment in full or report the debt to the credit bureaus within this 30-day period, but we can ASK for the money. We then use a combination of calls and letters in our efforts to collect. Once an account has been in our office for 45 days with no payment, no arrangement to pay, and no dispute it is subject to being reported to the 3 major credit bureau companies. We report to the credit bureaus during the first week of each month via the internet. Phone calls are launched rapid-fire on our high-speed autodialer, and many are placed in the evenings and on Saturday as well as during the weekday. When we lose an address or a phone number, we have many tools to use to try to find new information. The accounts that are sent to the credit bureaus usually stay there for seven years. Many debtors who initially ignore their bills call us months or years later to pay because they are trying to buy something or get a loan and the item we placed on their credit is affecting their ability to do so.

What if the debtor disputes the account?
If the debtor disputes the debt, we will provide them with any documentation you can provide us to prove the validity of the debt. If you are unable to validate the debt, we will close and return it to you and advise the debtor of same. Once the dispute has been resolved and the debt validated, we resume collection activity.

Are there ever circumstances where you would use legal action?
In certain instances, yes. Because of the cost, the legal burden of proof, and the length of time it can take we will only recommend legal action as a last resort. We will not have an attorney sue a debtor for a client’s “revenge”. We will only recommend legal action if we feel confident that the legal process will succeed and payment for the account will be obtained.

How long have you been in business?
Optima opened in April 2003.

Does your company charge an annual fee?

Are you a member of any national association or organization?
We are members of ACA International, which is the American Collectors Association.

This is an attempt to collect a debt by a debt collector. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose.

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Phone: (865) 862-1200 E-mail: clientdesk@optimarecoveryservices.com
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