Frequently asked questions about professional debt collection

Neil Jinks, one of the directors of the DWF Recoveries team, answers seven key frequently asked questions which clients often have when deciding whether to instruct us to recover debts which they, or their businesses, are owed.

1. What are the benefits of instructing a solicitor rather than a Debt Collection Agency?

  • It is highly likely that a Debt Collection Agency (DCA) will charge a much higher rate of commission than a solicitor would when dealing with pre-legal collections
  • If the pre-legal collections cycle doesn’t result in payment, it is likely that legal action will be the best way forward in any event
  • Solicitors are best placed for engaging with the Courts and dealing with the legal process

2. Aren’t solicitors expensive?

  • Solicitors tend to charge less than DCA’s
  • They can often recover all or some of their fees from the debtor
  • Generally, low fixed fees are charged for straightforward debt recovery matters
  • Only solicitors are entitled to claim fixed costs allowed in the proceedings

3. Will I lose business and customers?

  • Having a good credit policy is good business practice
  • Any decent and genuine customer or client will understand the need for action to be taken to protect your position
  • Outsourcing the collections process to us will enable you to maintain good relations with your customers or clients
  • Only paying customers and clients are ones worth having
  • Using late payment compensation and interest will encourage prompt payment in the future

 4. Will my brand, image, or corporate identity be damaged?

  • We are experts in reputational risk management and public relations and will help to preserve your good name
  • You are in the safe hands of experts within a top 20 law firm who are well versed in communicating well
  • Your debtors will be treated fairly, professionally and with respect at all times despite the process in hand
  • Our staff will always be polite and courteous but firm and fair at the same time to focus on collection

5. What if the debt has only just become overdue for payment?

  • As long as the debt is overdue you are entitled to chase for payment to secure recovery sooner rather than later
  • As soon as it becomes overdue you could be entitled to interest and compensation to cover your costs
  • Time is of the essence; the earlier you act, the more likely you are to collect the debt without any issues
  • It is good business practice to have a credit policy and to chase for payment quickly and efficiently
  • Speedier action can avoid the risks of the debtor going insolvent and losing the money due to you
  • The longer you leave it, the more difficult it becomes to collect and delays give the debtor more time to come up with excuses for non-payment and spurious defences
  • You will reduce the risk of incurring bad debt write offs

6. Should I only use solicitors for old aged debts about to be written off?

  • See above – act sooner rather than later!

7. I am a sole trader, surely I should do it myself and not use a solicitor?

  • Using professionals can help to avoid any issues arising
  • You can claim solicitor's costs to help cover the cost of the proceedings
  • Debtors are more likely to take you seriously and see that you mean business if you involve a third party
  • We act for businesses of all sizes; small, medium and large and all clients are treated the same and receive the same high level of service, benefits and features
  • You will speed up the whole process, ensure that you get it right first time and free up your own time to focus on running your own business and do what you do best
  • You can benefit from discounts on Court fees via us as well as guaranteed turnaround times for issue and service of claims

If you have any further questions, or would like to discuss anything featured within these FAQs, please contact Neil Jinks.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

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Neil Jinks


I am a Director within the recoveries team at DWF. I have over 25 years of experience working in law firms, the credit industry and High Court enforcement sector, managing and developing debt recovery operations and client relationships.

David Scottow

Director - National Head of Recoveries

I am a Senior Director and National Head of Recoveries with almost 40 years’ experience in debt litigation, insolvency and credit management..