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Tollway makes list of commercial debtors public

There are many ways to go about collecting a debt, some more effective than others. Here in California, garnishing wages, repossessing property, and conducting audits are all proven solutions, but some scenarios require a unique approach. One out-of-state government agency is employing a new tactic that has uniformly upset its debtors -- but they certainly are taking notice. 

The Illinois Tollway has a list of some 157 debt holders who collectively owe the agency nearly $3.7 million. Not surprisingly, the list is full of transportation-based outfits such as trucking, taxi and limousine companies. But it also includes a day care center, painting companies and a business that provides services for senior citizens and disabled people. In an effort to shame these companies into paying their outstanding debts, the tollway has developed a list of these "super scofflaws" and posted it on its website. 

Many of the companies on the list -- which doesn't include individuals behind on their tolls -- have admitted that they're threatened by the potential harm to their business. Some argue that the debt amounts are inaccurate and don't warrant the public embarrassment. Tollway officials say that offending companies have already had lawsuits filed against them, and that the solution for these debtors is simple: Call the number on the collection notice, pay off the debt, and a business' name will be removed from the list. 

The Super Scofflaw list is entirely legal, thanks to legislation signed by Illinois' governor (the list was published the day after the signing). And while the companies can't be expected to respond kindly, the tollway may finally get what it's after.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Some firms cry foul as Tollway posts 'super scofflaw' list," Jon Hilkevitch and Jennifer Delgado, Aug. 29, 2013