What to do when ‘late late’ is the only option in collections

It’s always sad to say goodbye, but as we come to the last post in our Collections Common Timelines series, we hope you’ve enjoyed the journey.

Our mission was to share with interested parties the data and anecdotal evidence we’ve been presented with concerning the 6 stages of the collections process:

  1. Setting Up for Success
  2. Pre-Due Collections
  3. Due Date
  4. Early Collections
  5. Late Collections  
  6. Late Late Collections

We dug deep into feedback from 1000’s of clients and over 2 million live accounts to not only estimate the average timelines involved but also best practice in how to maximise your ROI.

As an added benefit we’re also sharing with you how we’ve practically applied these learnings in the real live collections process (see below).

Short on time and want to read all 6 phases at your convenience? To download the Collections Timelines Whitepaper

At 120 days plus we are in the final stage of the collections process and there are 4 main options available:


Through our legal service AJJB, we understand that once all avenues have been exhausted the only way to secure a client’s position is to issue proceedings through the court in a cost-effective way.

We utilise scorecards alongside a bespoke internal system and Credit Reference Agency data to measure an account’s suitability score. Those that fit the criteria then go through a hybrid collections strategy which includes stronger communication via our various contact channels and a Letter Before Claim from our solicitors.

Although we are into the final process of debt recovery our procedural content is still designed to rehabilitate our client’s customers so they can avoid the need for legal action in the form of a County Court Claim. The customers are notified during of every step of the process and educated about the consequences of non-payment.

To find out more about AJJB, Click Here

There are two big myths about legal action:

  1. That it can damage an organisation’s brand: in our experience customers are completely aware of the situation they find themselves in and understand it is their responsibility to find a solution; which we offer. As long as the correct and compliant procedures have been followed throughout the process, we’ve found very little issues with this course of action.
  2. The second myth is that legal costs too much money with little or no net return. Our bespoke internal system aligned with the Credit Reference Agency data allows us to utilise a very successful scorecard system. Once the numbers have been ‘crunched’ we can accurately inform our clients of their expected outcomes and ROI. We also have a range of no-win no-fee charging models meaning clients are guaranteed a positive net result.

2nd DCA placement

The second option available is to try a further DCA placement. As discussed earlier not all DCA’s are the same. Some focus on specific areas and others have more or less ‘tools’ at their disposal than others.

Although coeo UK began life using traditional collections methods, over a decade ago we identified the movement towards new technology and have embraced a digital collections approach as one of our USPs. As a result we often find we’re approached for both first and second placement because of our vast array of traditional and new tech collections tools.

Debt sale

Another option is Debt Sale, where company A will offload a debt book or portfolio to company B with company B securing the right to collect the money and become the new creditor.

Write Off

The final option is to write the account off and close it down as a liability.

It’s important to note that these options will not happen as a single process activity, the options will work in combination with each other and often they are interchangeable and stackable.

Final words from coeo

Thank you for taking the time to read through this cross-industry average debt collection timeline blog post.

If you’re interested in how your industry’s collections timelines match up against the average, or against other industries feel free to download our latest Collections: Timelines Whitepaper here.