— Attorney Joe Perry Redd

Your Guide to the Collection Process

The Reddlaw Guide to the Collection Process

Debt collection is a process, not an event.

Step 1: Set Up

When our team receives your files, we set up our own file and acknowledge receipt of your file by e-mail. This usually takes 48 hours or less.

Step 2: One Letter

We then send one and only one demand letter to the debtor. If the debtor responds, we attempt to resolve the debt by payment or payments. We will NOT discount the debt without permission from you, our client.

However, many times the debtor will ignore our letter.

Step 3: Lawsuit

We then obtain your permission to file suit. Once the lawsuit is filed, we attempt to obtain judgment by default, summary judgment or judgment on the pleadings where possible. It this is not possible, we are prepared to go to trial if necessary (this is rare, but does happen).

"Anytime we have to go to trial to collect a debt, I have failed my client." — Attorney Joe Perry Redd

Step 4: Judgment

A judgment is simply a court order and a piece of paper that gives us the go-ahead to take further legal action. In Georgia, judgments are liens on all real estate owned by the debtor. This means the debtor cannot sell or borrow against the debtor's real estate without paying off the judgment. This lien is good for 7 years and can be renewed. If the debtor owns real estate in counties other than the county in which the lawsuit is filed, we must be told so we can file the judgment and institute the lien in the other counties.

Step 5: Garnishments

Once judgment is obtained, we can then file garnishments on employment, bank accounts or against any third party that owes the debtor money. If the client does not know where the debtor is employed, or banks at, we can require the debtor, or the CEO of a corporation, to appear for a post-judgment deposition to testify under penalty of perjury as to assets and to produce documents such as bank statements, etc.

Step 6: Jail

If the debtor refuses to appear for post-judgment deposition, the debtor can be jailed for contempt. It is never possible to have someone jailed for not paying a debt, but the court will jail those who disobey court orders to appear for post-judgment depositions to reveal assets to be used to collect the judgment.

This process takes additional costs for the court, sheriff, etc. and from start to finish can take up to 6 months.

Usually we get the debtor's attention somewhere before the sheriff goes to arrest the debtor and the matter is resolved. Even though it is the court, not the client, that jails the debtor for contempt, if you are squeamish about a debtor being jailed, then we are probably not a good match for you.

Since we do not get paid until the client gets paid*, we do all we can to collect the debt you are owed.


*"Contingent attorney's fees" refers only to those fees charged by attorneys for their legal services. Such fees are not permitted in all types of cases, but are permitted in collection cases. Court costs and other additional expenses of legal action must be paid by the client. We will not incur expenses over $50 without your prior approval.