Industry Veteran Launches Online Debt Collection Service
Seafood companies worried about accounts that aren’t paying their bills have a new collection tool at their disposal: SeafoodDebtors.com. The Boston-based company yesterday launched its Web site search engine serving the global seafood industry.
Companies with debt totaling more than $2 million have been listed on the site for bad debts that have either been recently collected or written off. The companies span the globe, from the United States to Canada to Great Britain to Turkey.
SeafoodDebtors is free and doesn’t require login information. It will serve banks, creditors, competitors and suppliers looking for credit information on seafood dealers and buyers. The debt information, including the names of company owners, is fed to large Internet search engines such as Google to give it as much exposure as possible, says company Founder and President Neal Workman.
Workman is a veteran of the U.S. seafood industry, having launched The Fisheries Exchange three years ago as a collection service for lobster dealers. Workman also founded the former Gofish.com and Seafax, both of Portland, Maine, USA.
Prior to listing a debtor on SeafoodDebtors.com, the company requires creditors to ensure in writing that the invoice is not disputed or offset by counter claims. All listings on the Web site have been screened by SeafoodDebtors and determined to be valid debts before being listed. The debtor is notified by telephone, fax and e-mail and given an opportunity to respond to the collection demands prior to being listed.
“The information has to be 100 percent accurate,” says Workman. “[The site] is not a penalty box. We use the leverage of exposure in a responsible way that generates a positive outcome.”
Collection fees range from nothing if the debt is not collected, to up to 25 percent of the collected sum for invoices that are 91 days or more overdue.
When asked what separates SeafoodDebtors LLC apart from other collection agencies, Workman points out the information is searchable by anyone.
“Most credit databases like this are a pay-per-view, closed-subscription model,” says Workman. “There’s a finite number of people who can view it. SeafoodDebtors.com is limitless.”
A debtor’s biggest friend is the dark, adds Workman. “It’s not hard to sell [seafood], it’s difficult to collect.”
SeafoodDebtors LLC has four full-time and two part-time employees.