In my job as a judgment broker, many times each day, judgment creditors ask me questions such as this:
1) How long will it take for you to find me a judgment buyer or enforcer?
2) How long will it take for my judgment to be recovered?
3) How much can I sell my judgment for right now?
4) What are the chances of my judgment getting recovered?
5) How much will I have to give up, to get my judgment recovered?
At first, my answer is always the same: Read JudgmentBuy’s website and it always depends on your judgment debtor. When your judgment debtor is rich, that is good; when your judgment debtor is broke, it is all bad news. Although my answer always starts with “It depends on your judgment debtor”, all too often, I soon learn the attitudes or beliefs of some judgment creditors, are likely to prevent their judgments from ever getting recovered.
This article is my opinion, and not legal advice. I am a judgment broker, and am not a lawyer. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer. In my job, I screen judgment debtors using public data records. I also check judgment creditors, to screen out the ones that are not ready to have their judgments recovered. These are the top 15 reasons judgments do not get recovered:
1) The judgment debtor is bankrupt, broke, or dead; because that can make it impossible to recover a judgment. Small judgments for fraud, or against dissolved companies, are not cost-effective to recover. Sometimes the judgment debtor’s assets are protected by laws to make them off-limits to creditors.
2) The creditors want someone to buy their judgment instantly, without knowing much about their debtor. Such creditors will probably never get paid. Creditors must understand that a judgment is like a used car. A judgment buyer must do some checking, and usually, extensive due-diligence. You would not walk into a used car dealer and accept the used car salesperson saying: “Hand me my cash, and then I will give you the car keys. We won’t start the car or let you drive it; and don’t kick those tires until I have your cash in hand and we have signed the paperwork”. How many cars would that used car dealer sell every year? Probably zero.
3) The creditor demands instant action. Nothing in judgment recovery is instant, except for bankruptcy filings.
4) The creditor does not want to split part of what money may be recovered, on a future payment contingency basis (Or accept what a judgment buyer will pay for their judgment). Judgment recovery is expensive and financially risky. Such creditors will probably never get paid.
5) The creditor insists on using their own paperwork. They reject all other paperwork, and/or want to micromanage any recovery effort. Such creditors should hire their own lawyer.
6) The creditor knows nothing about their judgment debtor. If the debtor is unknown, their judgment will never be purchased or recovered.
7) The creditor will not sign anyone’s paperwork. Judgment recovery experts, attorneys, collection agencies, and cash up front judgment buyers; all require their paperwork to be signed and often notarized.
8) The creditor is too stupid, emotional, annoying, threatening, or hostile. Most judgment experts agree that life is too short to listen to those types.
9) The creditor is stuck in a shopping mode. They start out thinking they will find a better deal if they shop their judgment. It takes them too long to learn and accept the reality that everything depends on their debtor. Some shop their judgment for years, never finding “a fair deal” and their judgments eventually expire.
10) The creditor is in denial, and has magical thinking, believes those web sites that claim: “We pay 50% to 75% cash up-front for judgments”. I can sell you some magic beans too. Some creditors go to a “judgment marketplace” to try to find cash upfront buyers, only to eventually find out that usually wastes time, and cannot get them more than 1-7% cash upfront for average judgments just like anywhere else.
11) The creditor does not believe the value of their judgment depends on their judgment debtor. They insist on a certain (too high) cash upfront price they choose to continue to strive for. They ignore the reality that average judgments are bought for amounts between 1-7% of the judgment’s listed amount. Some creditors will shop for years and never get a dime. Some creditors seem to prefer to let their judgments expire, than to sell them at a reality-based price.
12) The creditor spends all of their time telling long stories about themselves, their situation, how rotten their debtor is, and the full history of everything before and after their judgment; however they never send a copy of their judgment. They seem to talk forever about their judgment, instead of taking action and making their choice.
13) The creditor does everything right, then after a lawyer or enforcer or an agency starts working on their judgment, they decide to “help” by scheduling debtor exams and such, without telling the enforcer. Too many cooks spoil the soup, when you outsource your judgment, you should stop working on it.
14) The economy, jobs are disappearing and wages are going down, bankruptcies are increasing.
15) Courts and laws are changing to better protect debtors from creditors.
The judgment debtor’s situation is something the judgment creditor, or the enforcer of their judgment; can make worse, which is the opposite of what a smart creditor wants. A smart creditor wants their judgment debtor to do very well for at least three months after their judgment is repaid in full. Of all the 15 problems that can stop a judgment recovery listed above; notice that 12/15 of the reasons depend on the creditor. Everything should only depend on the judgment debtor.