First, if you come into this business you'll be turning down more judgments than you take, if you're doing it right. It doesn't take a lot of judgments to make good money. And it's a waste of time and energy and resources to take a crummy one.
I got this phone call off of my website on Thursday. Here's the fact pattern of the case.
Court: San Diego County, downtown.
Dollar amount: 23K
Cause of action: Breach of contract. Friend had loaned friend money, and he didn't pay it back. (You'll get a lot of these.)
Service of the suit: By publication. (In some cases that's okay, if the judgment debtor can't be found. But still, there can be issues.)
Age of judgment: 3 months.
While I had the person on the phone, I ran one of my professional databases on the guy. In 30 seconds I had his:
SSN: (sorry, can't share)
Address: xxxx, Spring Valley, CA
Car: '07 Chevy Cobalt.
No real property,
No prof. licenses,
No other judgments against him,
No criminal filings against him
Started two businesses-- W... W... and H.... Inc., that went under during the recession.
Had at least a year of college.
A search of utilities showed that the address I had was still good.
The first thing that hit me was that his address. I could also see that it was also his mom's. Looked like sisters and brothers lived there too. Not a good indication that he has any way to pay or assets to levy or garnish. If someone can't even afford rent, that's almost always enough to decline a judgment.
Second thing, I asked the creditor on the phone what more she knew about. After some discussion, I realized he was not a good bet at all for enforcement. I said, "If you reached in his pocket you'd get nothing, and if I reached into his pocket I'd get nothing. So, there's nothing for me to do."
Of course nobody likes to hear that, but just about everyone understands. Some are relieved, because now they can put it aside. But I also told her to call back in 6 months or a year, and I'll check on him again. The judgment amount will be higher, and maybe he's got his act together. He does have some schooling, and he does show some entrepreneurship. And, the judgment is good for 10 years, and is renewable indefinitely.
Will she call back. You bet. I helped her understand, and that meant a lot to her. I've also had calls from friends of people who have called me like this. Being polite is it's own reward. But sometimes it also gets you more business.
Any questions? Call or email me. Not a problem.
Thanks to all, Peter