Posts from the ‘MY LIFE AS A PROFESSIONAL DEBT COLLECTOR’ Category

CREDIT CARD DEBT PAYMENT OPTIONS IN 3RD PARTY COLLECTIONS AGENCY

I know I shouldn’t be talking about this stuff…NOT! I’m no longer an employee of that said company, so I can say what I want to say now. I’ll be talking about different payment options offered to debtors with credit cards four months past due and above. We’ve been taught to collect aggressively, again and again and again. But I’ll say it one more time, I don’t do that. I just can’t. That’s why I’m not cut out to be a collector – and I hated the job.

Okay, so first off, after confirming that we’re talking to the right party, we have to introduce ourselves, the company we’re working for and why we’re calling. Then we have to say this:

“This is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for this purpose only, this call is monitored and recorded for quality assurance.”

That is the mini-miranda. We have to say that before we disclose ANY information to the debtor, as per the FDCPA. So, after the formalities, we inform them that they owe a certain kind of amount. Usually the debtors cannot pay for the whole amount (credit card balance) so we ask them if they can pay the TOTAL AMOUNT DUE (Amount past due). If the debtor says no, then we will offer them a payment program which lasts for six months. In this case, we’ll start at three months past due.

Before I begin, let me tell you that we see a lot of information on the computer screen. But we will focus mainly on the balance, total amount due, minimum amount due, the due date – let me set an example:

Balance: $300

Total amount due: $75

Minimum amount due: $20

Due date: April 21, 2011

and this:

1    50

2    40

3    30

This is what we look for at screen when the credit card account is three months past due. These numbers are the total amount due (now considered minimum amounts) for the past three months the debtor has missed his payments. Now, for this six month-payment program, the debtor will have to pay / issue post dated checks for the next six months, on or before the due date each month. Let’s say the debtor agrees to go with the payment program, this is what is needed each month.

$30 on April 10

$40 on May 10

$50 on June 10

$20 for the months of July, August, September, every 10th also. (This $20 is the minimum amount due) Note that it isn’t necessary to date each check every 10th of the month. You can date it at any day of the month, as long as: 1. It’s 30 days after the date on the first check and 2. It does NOT go beyond the due date of the account, in this case, it’s the 21st, as was seen on the example above.

QUESTION: What happens to the account after the sixth month?

ANSWER: It goes out of collection, and goes back to being current/up to date again.

 

I get a lot of that question, but I usually say “…if within six months, you think you’ll be able to come up with the total amount due or something higher, just give us a call and we’ll  gladly help you out.” Why? Because that payment plan incurs late fees! WHY?! Because you are just paying minimum each month. BUT we are not allowed to say that UNLESS the debtor asks. WHY?!!! Because as long as the account stays in collection, the financer of the credit card earns MORE!

I just covered a payment plan for a three months past due account. I know I still have a lot to cover. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. Credit card financers only think about draining more money from debtors. I would love to name drop here, but I won’t, for the meantime. So, I guess it all goes back to us credit card holders – to be responsible every time we have the urge to use plastic to buy something that isn’t really needed or out of our budget.

I’ll be talking about post dated checks next time or maybe office politics in a third party collections agency, CCCS (who also scams people, tricking them into thinking that they can really help pay off debts – they make matters worse!) or maybe Rihanna being the ‘Illuminati Princess’…

 

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PROFESSIONAL DEBT COLLECTOR

Five years ago, on April 2005, I took a job as a debt collector. Ooops, sorry. Our trainer said we should always say ‘professional’ debt collector. Alright then, no problem. For one month, we underwent serious training, FDCPA rules, how to answer questions properly, how to collect, how to offer payment programs, etc.

I will tell you right now, it’s NOT the best job in the world. One, we had to work nightshifts. Two, I only took that job because I had no other choice at that time. Three, after maybe two to three years working here, you will discover that you are no longer as healthy as you think you are.

I no longer work for that company. I quit because of health reasons, after I got fed up office politics and the clients no longer sound reasonable to me (to a lot of us working there, actually). So where do I start? Why not TRAINING and some of my first day experiences?

We were trained by two Americans who are all seasoned professional debt collectors. The two words that they kept pounding inside our heads during the training were to be AGGRESSIVE & ASSERTIVE. Now this is the reason why debtors tend to be defensive all the time once they hear they are talking to a collector; they always assume that we’re calling them to drain them out of money in any way we can. In my opinion, it does not always work that way. You don’t always have to fight on the phone and force your way to make people pay. It sometimes pays to be nice on the phone.

Okay, so collectors, unlike customer service people can be rude on the phone. Yes, we were allowed to be like that but not to the point where it gets abusive or harrassing. I had co-workers who were like that and rudeness works for them. They sometimes go on scream fests with the debtors and they win – because sometimes, all it takes is to let the debtors know that you don’t easily get scared with their rudeness.

FDCPA – FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT, yes we studied that for EVERY state. One rule that applies to all: we are allowed to call after 8AM and before 9PM. Earlier than 8AM and later than 9PM is considered a violation. I remember one incident where I called someone from Florida, past  8:30AM. She was so furious and screaming at me because I was not supposed to call her before 9AM, that I was violating the state law. No, I wasn’t. There was no use educating her about FDCPA because she was screaming her lungs out, then she hung up.

The quota. Each month, we were given a quota to reach. Just imagine the pressure given to us. Add to the problem when we usually can’t reach people at home, we end up leaving a message to return our calls which they never do and they yell at us when we call them at their work phone. So I really can’t blame other people to become aggressive on the phone to reach the said quota, it’s either them (they might lose their jobs – I’ll get to that some other time) or the debtor.

I will be talking about other things about being a collector, and sometimes rant about office politics here. But I’ll end it here for now.

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