The PAID Debt Collection Process

The PAID Debt Collection Process

Our firm has almost 40 years’ experience acting for creditors and debt collection agencies.

You’ve done the work, delivered the goods and rendered your invoices. There’s nothing more frustrating than not being paid. The information below summarises the steps involved in collecting trade and commercial debts of up to $75,000. For more information – download our Free Legal Guide.

The PAID Debt Collection Process

Request Payment
Before engaging us, you should take reasonable steps to collect the debt yourself.
Telephone the debtor

Before engaging us, get a commitment from your debtor to pay you by a specific date. A telephone call is harder for them to ignore than an email or letter.

Confirm the commitment in writing

It’s much harder to deny a commitment in writing.

Follow up the payment

On the day of the agreed payment, follow up with the debtor and ask them to send you a payment receipt.

If payment is not received…

Or if the debtor refuses to commit to payment, issue a Get Paid Legal Demand.

Demand payment with a Legal Demand
We will formally demand the debt from the debtor.

Seasoned debtors know that only lawyers— not debt collectors —are licensed to take legal action to force them to pay. When you serve them with a Get PAID Legal Demand on lawyer’s letterhead, it’s clear that you mean business.

Legal Demands are useful tools for recovering bad debts and identifying any disputes that debtors may have about your bills. In any event, it is wise to issue a demand letter before you commence any legal action.

No commissions, no extra charges, no deductions.

For larger debts, if you authorise us to, we will negotiate and monitor a debtor repayment plan (including interest) at no additional cost to you.

If this demand turns out to be unsuccessful, we will analyse the debt and send you a written quote for further legal action. You decide whether to take the matter further. Your quote will include an estimate of the legal expenses recoverable from the debtor.

Obtaining a Court judgment
Nothing strikes more fear in the heart of a debtor than having to front up to court to explain why they haven’t paid you.

A judgment is a Court order that requires the debt to pay you the debt (and usually interest and costs).

Filing a General Procedure Claim in the Magistrates Court’s is the beginning of the court process. Once the claim is served, the debtor can either confess or ignore the claim or defend the proceedings.

If the claim is undefended, you will obtain a judgment by default.

A judgment entitles you to payment of the debt, but it does not guarantee automatic recovery. If the debtor refuses to pay, you can then pursue enforcement action to compel him or her to do so.

Enforcing the judgment
Convert your judgment into cash.

If the debtor fails to pay the debt after you obtain a Court judgment, you can take the following enforcement action:

Mean inquiry

The debtor (or a company director of the debtor) to attend court to be cross examined about their means to pay the debt in full or by instalment.

Earnings appropriation order

If the debtor fails to comply with an instalment order made at a means inquiry, you can apply for an order requiring the debtor’s employer to deduct instalments from the debtor’s wages.

Property Seizure

You can apply to the Court for an order authorising the Court Bailiff to seize and sell the debtor’s personal or real property to satisfy the judgment.


If the judgment exceeds $10,000 (for natural persons) or $4,000 (for companies), you can consider taking insolvency proceedings. Insolvency proceedings can be expensive and unrewarding, unless it has the effect of prompting your debtor to pay up to avoid the drastic consequences of becoming bankrupt.

Our plain-English guide explains the debt collection process for trade and commercial debts under $75,000 in Western Australia.