So, You Want to go to Court

When you place an account, you usually authorize the agency, with approval, to forward the claim to an attorney in the area where the debtor is located.  Of course, the final decision is yours.  You must determine whether there is a likelihood of recovery on your claim, and if the probable amount of that recovery will justify the time and expense of litigation.

Litigation can be a very slow process.  Although the filing of a suit may prompt the debtor to move forward and settle a case, crowded dockets and stall tactics by the debtor can often delay a judgment for months or even years.  And then you still have to collect it.

Court Costs and Suit Fee

If you authorize suit, you will be advised of general court costs and the suit fee requested by the attorney.  These fees are in addition to the contingent collection fees.

Attorney Suit Fees

These fees are for work performed in preparing and filing papers, including appearances.  Suit fees may be contingent or more commonly non-contingent, or a combination of both.

Court Costs and Fees

Process service, filing fees, and other fees vary widely across states and jurisdictions.  Court costs can be refunded if collected.


In an uncontested default judgment, witnesses are generally unnecessary. In some cases, however, the court may require a witness.  If claims are contested, usually one or more witnesses are necessary who know the issues.

Counter Claim

The attorney may ask for a separate, additional fee if a debtor files a counter claim which will require your defense