How Can I Collect a Debt Without Suing?

Full Question:

Is sending someone to small claims court the only way to collect money owed to me. This is a personal matter not business. I had sent this person 3 letters regarding this debt, and never heard a response.
05/16/2012   |   Category: Debts and Credit   |   State: Virginia   |   #25674

Answer:

When a promissory note is created, there can be a clause creating a security interest in the person's property that can be collected in case of nonpayment. The property is called collateral, and serves to secure the debt. Another clause called a cognovit clause, has the debtor waive any defenses to owing the debt and agree in advance to having a judgment against him/her if sh/e fails to pay.

If you don't have a secured promissory note and/or cognovit note and the person isn't responding to letters demanding payment, you may have no recourse but to sue. A claim may be brought in a general jurisdiction court as well, depending on the amount involved. However, if the claim is within the limits of small claims court it may be easier and less expensive to use that route.