Collector Says “No” to Debt Settlement Companies That Want His Data

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Shawn Smith - Dedicated Commercial Recovery

Debt settlement companies often find their leads by scouring through UCC filings, or publicly available forms that a creditor files to give notice that it may have rights to the property of a debtor. In the case of a small business, perhaps the refrigerators in a restaurant.

“[Looking through UCC filings] is a way of getting access to businesses that obviously owe somebody some money for their business,” said Shawn Smith, founder and CEO of Dedicated Commercial Recovery, a commercial collections company in Roseville, Minnesota.

But Smith told deBanked about another approach that debt settlement companies have taken to obtain leads of struggling businesses. He said they come to him.

“Who has a ton of accounts of struggling business owners?” Smith said. “Debt collection agencies that are working on behalf of funding sources. So [we] have like a list of all lists.”

Smith said that he gets approached by debt settlement companies looking for the contact information of struggling companies.

He always says “no.”

“They’re coming to me and saying ‘Hey, you know, for any merchant you send us that’s struggling, if we start working with them to help settle their debts, we will give you a large portion of the fee we make on settling that debt,’” Smith said. “And we of course would never do that.”

Dedicated works in two areas of collections: merchant cash advance and equipment leasing. In both cases, its goal is to recoup money for its clients, either merchant cash advance companies or equipment leasing companies.

Unlike this arrangement, a debt settlement company is not hired by a funding company. Instead, according to Smith, the debt settlement company searches for a struggling company, instructs the merchant to stop paying the funder and then approaches the funder with a settlement deal for often a fraction of what the funder is entitled to under the agreed upon deal. Smith said that settlement companies almost always propose to the funder: 20 percent of the value of the deal over five years.

Smith said he does work with debt settlement companies if they approach him representing a small business that can’t pay its bills, as long as what’s offered is within the range of what the funding company client would accept. Otherwise it’s a no-go. While Smith doesn’t share the names of struggling small businesses in exchange for kickbacks in the event of repayment, he’s convinced that this happens as he continues to be approached.

Founded by Smith in 2015, Dedicated has a staff of 18.

Last modified: September 6, 2018
Todd Stone


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Category: Business Lending, merchant cash advance

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