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Few things in business are more physically, emotionally and financially abusive than disputed debts. Regardless of whether such disputes are genuine or totally fabricated in an effort to get out of paying, there's much to lose and little to gain in allowing a dispute to drag on. Should you be on the receiving end of a disputed debt and you want it resolved quickly and efficiently here are the 5 steps you need to follow.  5 Potent Steps To Quash Disputed Debts Step 1: Document Complaint In Writing On first learning of a dispute it's imperative that you get the complaint in writing. Don't do what so many do by jumping in and either verbally defend their position or alternatively attack the disputer. Doing so will only escalate hostilities and dramatically lessen your chances of a quick resolution. What you should do is contact the debtor and respectfully thank them for bringing their concerns to your attention. Then say something along the lines of "So that I can address all of your concerns quickly and without confusion it would help me greatly if you would write down all of your concerns and have these to me by this time next week." It's important to give them a deadline to write to you so that you don't get strung along. It's also very smart to journal a detailed record of this conversation, paying particular attention to your request for a formal complaint. Step 2: Respond To The Formal Complaint Should you receive this dispute in writing, the next step is to gather all your facts and consider your response. By far the greatest benefit of receiving the complaint in writing is that it gives you the time and information to prepare a robust, and well-formulated response. Now if the dispute is a simple oversight or mistake you may be able to satisfactorily resolve the matter over the phone. Alternatively, if the complaint can't be resolved easily, you should again contact the debtor, thank them for putting their concerns in writing and organise a time to meet with them. However, if the debtor ignored your request for a formal letter of complaint, do NOT assume everything's now OK. Rather, send them a letter that's not to dissimilar to a Debt Reminder Letter. This letter should clearly state the fact that you requested their concerns in writing yet you have

not received them. It should go on to say that based on this fact you now deem the matter resolved and as such you would appreciate prompt and full payment. Again, give the debtor a maximum of 7 days to settle the account. Step 3: Resolve The Dispute If on meeting with the debtor you deem the dispute to be fair and reasonable then you should do all in your power to resolve the matter quickly and amicably. Don't muck the debtor around. It's your reputation on the line and you'll be amazed at how much good will sorting out a dispute professionally and expediently creates for your business. Now if you satisfactorily address all of the debtors concerns it's critically important that you record the details of your actions to resolve the dispute on a Work Completion Confirmation form and have the debtor sign this form. This document will prove to be extremely powerful down the road should the debtor continue to dispute the debt. Having addressed the debtors concerns you should next send them a Debt Reminder Letter stating that as their concerns are now resolved you would appreciate prompt and full payment. If on the other hand your debtor continues to withhold payment for any reason then send them a Final Demand Letter immediately. Step 4: Get Professional Help Should your debtor fail to settle the account on receipt of your Final Demand Letter that's all the proof you need that you're now dealing with a professional debtor. As such, there's only one way forward and that's to refer the debt to a debt collection agency. However, not all collection agencies are created equal... especially when it comes to dealing with disputed debts. What you must insist on is a collection agency that is... a) fully equipped to handle disputed debts and b) won't charge you extra to to deal with such a debt. You see, what you may or may not realise is that with rare exception debt collectors won't touch a disputed debt. Irrespective of whether a dispute is genuine or clearly bogus, most debt collectors don't care. Such debts are simply too difficult to handle and hence it's easier for them to just throw them back in your lap. And of the handful that will take on disputed debts, the vast majority will charge you like a bull to do so. However, although agencies that handle disputes without charging additional fees are rare, they do exist and if you've got a disputed debt on your hands you should move heaven and earth to find them. 

Step 5: Seal-Off The Holes In Your Defenses If in the course of the dispute you discover that you're inadequately protected against disputes, don't bury your head in the sand. Rather, capitalize on the opportunity to fortify your weaknesses with the "7 Pillars of Prevention" specifically designed to prevent disputes ravaging your business. Armed with this lethal arsenal you'll posses unparalleled power to mow down unscrupulous debtors who set out to pillage your coffers. Bottom Line: If ever you find yourself in the cross-hairs of a dispute it's paramount you act quickly and decisively. The longer a dispute goes unresolved the more likely it will deteriorate in to a bitter drawn-out battle that drains your resources for little to no reward. Following the 5 steps above to the letter is the fastest, most efficient and most affordable formula for resolving disputed debts.  

Publisher of the world's only free multi-media Debt Recovery online training course for business owners Dr Angelo Ioanides (a.k.a. The Debt Doctor) is a leading authority in protecting, accelerating and magnifying business cash-flows. If you'd like to possess the tools and knowledge to fully ring-fence your business against bogus disputes as well as recover disputed debts quickly, painlessly and affordably be sure to take advantage of The Debt Doctor's Free Online Debt Collection Training.

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