Let’s admit it. The thought of debt collectors is scary. I’m sure you’ve heard at least one or two horror stories about collection agencies, and you’re not alone. Banks, debtors, collection agencies, and everyone under the same line of business have always had a bad reputation.
Due to a history of poor customer service, the general public is now distrustful of the industry. The problem with that is, collection agencies are necessary for today’s economy.
A Collection Agency may or may not be a part of the creditor’s company, but most of the time, it is a third-party contractor that businesses hire to collect debts owed to them by either an individual or another company.
Aside from collection, the agency can also handle more sensitive problems for a company. They have the time and skills, both that are very important and may not be organic to your own company, needed to be able to collect what other companies or individuals owe you. They also have the resources to provide you with a collection specialist who has the knowledge and ability to handle complicated and debt-related situations together with your legal team.
If everything that I said above is true, then collection agencies sound like nothing but good news for your business, right? Well, yes and no.
An accomplished and trusted collection agency in Atlanta has shared to us why a lot of collection agencies end up getting a bad reputation. Which in turn, makes the creditors who hire them lose even more money and customers. Adams, Evens, & Ross, Inc., has been in the industry for more than 2 decades and they know the criteria to help you understand what makes a good collection agency and what doesn’t.
If you’re looking for a collection agency to hire for your company or is another collection agency looking to up your game, let me discuss the factors that play a part into the collection industry’s bad rep so you know what to look for and what not to do.
- Being too aggressive from the get-go – No one likes receiving phone calls or text messages from unknown numbers. Collectors who immediately start prying for customers’ personal or sensitive information, like bank account or social security numbers, without identifying themselves first are the worst. Apparently, a lot of agencies have become too entitled to treat debtors with much-needed respect.
Regardless, if the collectors are from the same company or from a third-party contractor, they would be representing the hiring company. So any customer or client mistreatment would not just give a bad impression to the collecting agency, they would leave a bad impression on the creditor’s company, too!
- Disrespecting personal hours – Collectors should take into consideration the customer’s situation, personal information, and schedule. It’s not okay and there’s no way it’s fair for them to contact the debtors 24/7. Debtors have the option and the right (under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA) to choose the schedule of when they are allowed to be contacted. Any breach of this act can only lead to more complications, and/or even legal implications.
(Pro tip: According to the FDCPA, contact through mobile phones or telephones between collectors and debtors should only be done between 8 am to 9 pm local time. And any disruptive phone calls, especially when the debtor or client is at work is forbidden.)
- Thinking that the way to collect successfully is done only through hostile manners – A proper collection process should have four stages. The soft collection, pre-litigation, litigation, and recovery. This is an organized and productive way to successfully collect payments. However, everything goes south once collectors start resorting into forceful and hostile approaches. That may include threats of lawsuits, arrests, or criminal charges. In itself, debt collection is not a criminal act per se, and debtors wouldn’t go to jail if they fail to make a payment. A collection agency’s goal should be to settle things amicably between the creditor and the debtor, not wedge another knife between them.
- Using the customer or debtor’s personal information against them – Collectors, in no way, shape, or form, are allowed to use anyone’s personal information against them in order to collect payment. Thus, collectors who contact a customer or client’s family member, friend, or co-worker, with the intent to discuss the customer’s financial situation is a huge no-no. Sadly, customers have reported claims about this.
- Impersonating other legal authorities – People have reported collection agencies which falsely claim to be legal attorneys or credit reporting officers so that to threaten them into paying their debt. Not only is this tactic illegal, but it is also absolutely horrendous and downright embarrassing.
Keep note that the things listed above can be and should be changed. If anything, you should either look for an agency that doesn’t practice any of it or aim to be the agency that businesses would want to look for.