Skip Tracing in the Caribbean: Three Alternatives

150628 i2International business-to-consumer (B2C) debts, whether in connection with student loans, medical files or online purchases, are difficult to collect. The older the debts, the more likely it is that the debtor moved location, a telephone number or cell phone is not accurate anymore, or that email addresses have changed. Let alone the complicated matter of enforcing payment legally due to differences in among others legal systems and economic means of the individual debtor.

If the debtor cannot be located, debt collection agencies generally intent to locate the debtor, which in the debt collection business is called Skip Tracing. Official and public data may be available to trace, and often enhanced systems are used.

As I pointed out last week in the previous blog post about skip tracing, for skip tracing in the Caribbean one faces challenges of which the following three are the most common: improper registration systems, the fact that information is often not accessible, and the fact that people move around overseas.

How can we bypass these challenges and trace individuals effectively?

1. Internet

I indicated this already in a previous blogs post. As a start, google your debtor. Use all the info you have to create search combinations as unique as possible so that the likelihood of useful results increases. The search combinations may include first name, last name, nickname, location, former location, country, date of birth, profession or industry your debtor is active in; basically any information available. Often an initial search gives additional info which can be used to narrow the Google search further.

2. Social Media

Use the power of Social Media. Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram. The majority of the people have online profiles with at least one of the Social Media. This might give you an indication as to debtor’s actual residence location, it might provide info about debtor’s surroundings and sometimes even contact details.

3. Word-to-mouth info

It might be cliché, but in the small-sized Caribbean nations, perhaps not everybody knows everybody, but a lot of people do know each other personally. So you might get well away enquiring locally by speaking to people in the debtor’s near surroundings if you know family names, previous employers, or previous locations.

There are three alternatives for the challenges of skip tracing: the Internet in general, Social Media in particular and Word-to-mouth info.

If you are interested in learning more on the subject of skip tracing in the Caribbean let’s connect on Linked-In or follow me on Twitter.

To participate in conversations about debt collection in Latin America & the Caribbean please join the Linked-In Group Debt Collection Latin America.

Debt Collection in Mexico: Six Items on the Checklist for Foreigners

Debt Collection Latin America & the Caribbean

141206 Mexico Debt Collection 3Some foreigners who claim unpaid invoices or overdue debt in Mexico may see debt collection in Mexico as complicated, impractical or even impossible.

Others, on the other hand, may underestimate the challenges one may encounter as they compare to the relative easiness and straightforwardness of collecting in their own countries.

The truth lays, as so often, somewhere in the middle. It is perfectly possible to collect debt in Mexico, but it is fundamental to understand the country’s particular context and circumstances for debt collection.

Here is a checklist every foreigner should use as a framework when looking for debt collection in Mexico and to properly manage expectations.

Size of the claim

At the end of the day, it is all a numbers game. How much are you owed and what would be the costs of claiming and collecting it? Collections in Mexico can be expensive (especially if you go legal)…

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Debt Collection in the Informal Economy

Debt Collection Latin America & the Caribbean

118_1896With the informal economy I refer to doing business without a formally established company or whereby a person does business on its own account without being registered to do business; and / or business is done without or with (very) few and / or insufficient contracts, invoices, order forms, or otherwise official documentation in place.

Now I have always found this a hard nut to crack, debt collection in the informal economy. Perhaps this is less of an issue in North America or Europe (or at least Northern Europe), but in Latin America and the Caribbean where the size of the informal economy is considerable and where it forms an indispensable way of life, the informal economy is also in the debt collection business part of reality.

But how do you collect debts in if there is no formal basis to rely on? Here are four things to focus on.

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Tres Herramientas En Línea Para Cobranzas

Debt Collection Latin America & the Caribbean

140729.3 4 Three Online Tools - Tres Herramientas en LineaLos tiempos que enviar una carta y hacer llamadas de teléfono para dar seguimiento ya quedaron atrás. Aun nos comunicamos por teléfono pero la papelería ha sido remplazada casi por completo por la vía digital. El Internet se ha convertido en una fuerte de información poderosa, también en cobranzas.

Pero como podemos usar de forma efectiva el Internet para cobranzas?

Hay dos razones para usar el Internet para cobranzas: 1. para crear un perfil del deudor el cual nos dará una indicación de las posibilidades económicas y con eso el potencial de recibir pagos, y 2. para obtener más datos de contacto posibles del deudor, como correos electrónicos, números de teléfono, contactos de Skype y enlaces de los Medios Sociales.

Podemos distinguir tres categorías básicas – vamos a llamarlos “herramientas en línea” – para lograr la creación de un perfil del deudor y para obtener información de contacto.

  1. Google

Para…

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Cobroamericas Habitat: cobranza para administracion de condominios

Debt Collection Latin America & the Caribbean

150201 Cobroamericas Habitat 2La administración de condominios es un trabajo exigente. La administradora de condominios, que presta un servicio profesional, es una figura clave en la preservación de un ambiente de calidad y de bienestar de los residentes.

También la tarea de la cobranza de cuotas de mantenimiento le toca a la administradora. En general, hay aún mucho por mejorar en la gestión de cuentas morosas por parte de administraciones de condominios en México.

La cobranza es atípica por el hecho de tratarse de áreas comunes (con varios copropietarios) y residentes que, por ser dueños de una propiedad en el condominio, siguen siendo parte de le carpeta de clientes de la administradora. Eso requiere un trato especializado hecho específicamente para la administración de condominios.

Aquí seis recomendaciones para administradoras de condominios al fin de tener un proceso de cobranza profesional y efectivo.

  • Debe de haber un contrato de prestación de servicios con la…

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Six Challenges For Starting Legal Proceedings in Latin America

Debt Collection Latin America & the Caribbean

140729.2 Six Challenges Legal Proceedings LATAMIn a globalizing world we do more international business than ever before. Economic growth takes place in what we used to call the developing countries.

Focusing on Latin America, countries like Brazil and Mexico, but in the last few years certainly also for example Colombia, Peru, Chile and Panama, have gone through significant growth periods attracting foreign businesses and investments.

But what if you are based in North America or Europe and you do volume business in one of these countries, or you closed a very important business deal, and your client is not paying? What if the deal is not covered under your credit insurance, your client passed through all internal due diligence and compliance procedures and know your client policies, and amicable debt collection and interferences of a debt collection agency, local representatives, or even a law firm do not result in payment of the outstanding debt?

Naturally…

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Skip Tracing in the Caribbean: Three Challenges Explained

140621 caribbeanInternational business-to-consumer (B2C) debts, whether in connection with student loans, medical files or online purchases, are difficult to collect. The older the debts, the more likely it is that the debtor moved location, a telephone number or cell phone is not accurate anymore, or that email addresses have changed. Let alone the complicated matter of enforcing payment legally due to differences in among others legal systems and economic means of the individual debtor.

If the debtor cannot be located, debt collection agencies generally intent to locate the debtor, which in the debt collection business is called Skip Tracing. Official and public data may be available to trace, and often enhanced systems are used.

Generally speaking, for skip tracing in the Caribbean one faces a couple of challenges, which can make it hard and sometimes impossible to locate individuals. I am pointing out three of them.

1. Improper registration systems

Now we must be careful not to generalize, but in several Caribbean nations we see that official registration systems are inefficient and in accurate. Although there might be a formal obligations to properly register or update domicile information, in practice this is poorly carried out in practice and hardly monitored by local authorities as to correctness.

2. Information is often not accessible

As is typical for nations considered offshore locations, official information on private persons publicly available or accessible in Caribbean nations is generally limited, and not in the least case because accessibly is regulated and protected by local law.

3. People move around, and often overseas

As the majority of the Caribbean nations are island states, small in size, and often affiliated or even integral part of an overseas (former, and most commonly, European) “motherland” (like the British Virgin Island and Britain, Curacao and the Netherlands, Guadeloupe and France), and there are strong cultural and economic ties between the Caribbean nations and countries overseas, many people spend at least part of their lives (studies or work) overseas. For several reasons, often people do not change domicile details when they move or move back and may continue to be registered and thus officially live outside the Caribbean, which makes it hard to impossible to determine actual location.

Skip tracing in the Caribbean means facing challenges. The three most common challenges in my view are improper registration systems, the fact that information is often not accessible, and the fact that people move around overseas.

If you are interested in learning more on the subject of skip tracing in the Caribbean let’s connect on Linked-In or follow me on Twitter.

To participate in conversations about debt collection in Latin America & the Caribbean please join the Linked-In Group Debt Collection Latin America.