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how does the collection process work
April 21, 2017
how does the collection process work

    You have several options when you consider collections.

  • you can keep the process in-house, sending letters and making calls until you restore payments or lose the account
  • you can use a collection agency [don't use this option]
  • you can find an attorney to pursue your collections
  • you can engage Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum if you use our Standard Form Agreements
  • you can commence a lawsuit or exercise your option for arbitration

    In-house collection practices are fine as long as you don't alienate the subscriber to the point where the subscriber becomes emotionally entrenced with such animosity that paying you is the last item on the agenda and the subscriber would, rather than pay you, pay a lawyer or go bankrupt or disappear.  You are limited to calls, letters and terminating service, none of which are particularly effective unless the alarm system is mandatory.  However even turning off service may only cause the subscriber to seek other services from your competitors.
    Collection agencies are not a good choice.  The personnel are not well suited to retaining your subscriber's business [they get paid only on what they collect, not reinstatements].  Keep in mind that the sales person you spoke to and sold you on the collection agency service is not the fellow who will be making the harassing calls to your subscriber.  The collection agency will delay engaging counsel because that cost eats into its fees which now has to go mostly to the lawyers.  The lawyers are not "alarm experts' and you're not their client, the collection agency is.
    Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum probably processes more or as many cases as any law firm.  We will represent you if you use our updated Standard Form Agreements.  Why do we insist on that?  Two reasons:
    We are familiar with the terms of those agreements and know that the contract terms have strong collection provisions.
    We include an arbitration provision in our Standard Form Agreements and we have chosen an arbitration forum that is reasonable in price and efficient in processing the proceedings.  Generally we start the arbitration process within a few days of getting the assignment from you.  It starts with a Demand For Arbitration [residential subscribers have to get a 30 day demand letter first] and many cases settle quickly once the demand is made.  If not settled the subscriber has 15 days to respond and generally a hearing is scheduled within 30 days.  Most arbitration cases have a $125 filing fee.  Service of the Demand for Arbitration is by mail, so there is no costly process server charges.  Except for extraordinary large cases the arbitration is conducted by a signal arbitrator and the hearing can be by telephone, video or submission of the papers.  You won't have to take a day off work for the trial.  
    Are your chances better in arbitration or in court?  They are the same.  You'll likely win the cases you should, and lose the cases you should.  In arbitration the decision is final; no appeal is permitted, so at least you have finality and the process is quick.  
    Once you have an arbitration award that award needs to be "confirmed" in court, so you will have to commence a proceeding to confirm the award [unless you and the subscriber comply with the award without having to confirm it].  That court proceeding will be brought by Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum if you're in NY or NJ.  In other states you [or we] will have to find a local lawyer to confirm the award.  The proceeding to confirm the award will not require a trial or your involvement at all.  There are very few reasons a court will not confirm the award.  Once the award is confirmed it becomes a regular court judgment.  
    The arbitration provision serves another important purpose in the contract; it prevents the subscriber from commencing or joining a class action against you.  
    To find out more about Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum's collection department go here:
    To send us collection cases contact our head paralegal Kathleen Lampert at 516 747 6700 x 319 or email her at

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
516 747 6700
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