More often than not, debt collection
agencies elicit a negative sentiment from people due to poor portrayals in the media. Third-party agents are simply doing their jobs after many are contracted by an institution to recover a sum of money that rightfully belongs to them.
While the actions of fake and unnecessarily aggressive collectors have adversely affected the industry's reputation, there are companies actively trying to reverse the pessimistic thoughts. Access Receivables, a debt collection agency based out of Baltimore, recently released findings from it's Nice People Collect More strategy it implemented several years ago. The firm found that approaching people with overdue payments in a kind, non-confrontational way resulted in more sums being recovered. Access Receivables used tactics which included creating a website to educate consumers on best financial practices, monitoring phone calls for content, requiring staff certifications and rewarding employees for exemplary customer service techniques. The results, from figured measured between November 2011 and March 2012, indicate these strategies caused a 40.1 percent revenue increase. Since November 2011, no unhappy debtors filed complaints against the company to the Federal Trade Commission. Access Receivables president Tom Gillespie told InsideARM in an interview many positive reviews from customers have been posted on the company's website. Gillespie also explained the company is making collections easier for foreigners who owe money with a virtual assistant that can be translated into 17 languages. Gillespie explained to InsideARM he wanted to change the way consumers think about the whole industry because they are often made out to be villains, though he said the job of a collector is not just to recover money, it's also about resolving problems for individuals. According to The Impact of Third-Party Debt Collection on the National and State Economies study conducted by Ernst and Young and ACA International in early 2012, debt collectors often are not recognized for the work they do to improve the American economy. In 2010, after taking out commissions, debt agencies returned $44.6 billion to businesses and the economy, the report found. The recovery sector also helps the United States economy because it has created a large amount of jobs since the recession. Approximately 148,300 people are directly employed by these companies, and an additional 153,300 Americans work for businesses that supply goods and services to collection firms.