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  • Writer's pictureFair Capital

Debt Collection: The Differences Between Soft, Standard, and Legal Collections

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

As a professional debt collector at Fair Capital, I frequently encounter questions about the different stages of debt collection: Soft Collections, Standard Collections, and Legal Collections. Each stage has its own set of strategies and procedures. Here's a quick rundown of what these stages entail and how they differentiate from one another.

Comprehensive infographic depicting the stages of the debt collection process: Soft Collections with polite reminders and flexible payment options, Standard Collections with persistent contact, negotiation of payment plans, and credit bureau reporting, and Legal Collections as a last resort, including legal proceedings in compliance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Soft, Standard, Legal debt collection


Soft Collections: The Gentle Reminder

The first stage of the collections process is what we call Soft Collections. This is where we initiate contact with the debtor, reminding them of their outstanding payments. The tone at this stage is polite and respectful, aiming to foster a cooperative relationship. We typically send reminders, make courtesy calls, and even offer flexible payment options to make it easier for the debtor to fulfill their obligation. Our primary goal at this stage is to help the debtor rectify their situation without undue pressure or stress.


Standard Collections: Turning Up the Heat

If the Soft Collections stage doesn't yield the desired results, we move into Standard Collections. This phase involves more persistent contact with the debtor, while still maintaining our ethos of professionalism and respect. We emphasize the importance of the debt and negotiate to establish a satisfactory payment plan.


One important aspect of the Standard Collections stage at Fair Capital is that we ensure the account is reported to the major credit bureaus. This step underlines the gravity of the situation to the debtor, as it can affect their credit rating and future borrowing ability. But remember, our goal is always to work with the debtor to find a mutually agreeable resolution.


Legal Collections: The Last Resort

The final stage is Legal Collections. This phase comes into play when all other methods have been exhausted without resolution. It involves initiating legal proceedings to recover the debt. Our experienced legal team ensures that all actions comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This process can result in judgments or liens against the debtor.

While this stage may seem daunting, at Fair Capital, we view it as the last resort. Our primary aim is always to resolve the debt issue well before it reaches this point.


A Respectful Approach to Debt Collection

At Fair Capital, we prioritize a respectful and ethical approach at every stage of the debt collection process. We believe in giving every debtor the chance to rectify their situation while ensuring that our clients' financial interests are protected.


Navigating the different stages of Soft, Standard, and Legal debt collection can be challenging, but we strive to make the process transparent, fair, and efficient. If you have any questions about our approach or need assistance with debt collection, please feel free to reach out to us.




Q&A Q: What is Soft Collections in the process of debt collection?

A: Soft Collections is the first stage of the collections process where contact is initiated with the debtor in a polite and respectful manner, often through reminders and courtesy calls. The goal is to establish a cooperative relationship and offer flexible payment options.


Q: What actions are taken during the Standard Collections phase of debt collection?

A: In the Standard Collections phase, more persistent contact is established with the debtor, while maintaining professionalism and respect. The importance of the debt is emphasized and a satisfactory payment plan is negotiated. Importantly, the account is reported to the major credit bureaus during this stage.


Q: What happens in the Legal Collections stage of the debt collection process?

A: The Legal Collections stage is initiated when all other methods have been exhausted. It involves starting legal proceedings to recover the debt. Legal actions could result in judgments or liens against the debtor, but it is always seen as a last resort.


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Disclaimer: Any and all information is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice. Please consult your attorney for information concerning allowable rates of interest.

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