Sep 19, 2013 Philip Burgess
When it comes to fair and legal debt collection processes, awareness and education about the laws in place are paramount, and many advocacy groups have worked to spread teachings related to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) throughout the consumer landscape. Agencies operating in the collections sector should follow this trend by making internal adjustments to training programs.
All employees should be properly prepared for the challenges of the debt collection market, as well as in the various regulatory compliance statutes they will need to adhere to on every call. By ensuring that all members of staff are on the same page when it comes to contacting individuals and managing accounts, agencies will often improve financial performances while avoiding fines and sanctions from regulatory entities.
Symposium in October
InsideARM recently reported that the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (NARCA) will host a symposium on October 15 that will teach consumers some of the finer points of the FDCPA and other rules agencies must follow. Since debt collection complaints comprised the second highest level of communications received by the Federal Trade Commission last year, groups like NARCA are working to improve the stature of the collections industry.
According to the news provider, the event will take place at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and will also be targeted at advocates and regulators, in addition to consumers. The goal is to simultaneously improve the channels of communication between collectors and those in debt, while reducing the amount of complaints filed each year.
Several reports indicated that many of the complaints filed in 2012 might have been incorrect, indicating a lack of knowledge pertaining to relevant laws among consumers. NARCA is hoping to bring some of these issues to the table and ensure that the collection industry is on the same page as lawmakers and consumers when going through day-to-day procedures.
"Our story often gets lost or does not even get heard," Joann Needleman, President-Elect of NARCA, told the source. "We hope to engage in an honest discussion of the role of the collection attorney ... This is an opportunity to reintroduce to the public how the court system works, especially as it relates to debt collection."
InsideARM added that members of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other federal organizations will join consumer advocates, economists, collection attorneys and judges during the event.
Preparation and oversight for maximum success
Collection agencies that run into problems with the law are often the very same that did not take the necessary measures to ensure adequate management and oversight of communications. For this reason, collectors must implement policies, train employees and task trusted members of staff with the process of overseeing all communications directed at those in debt.
Additionally, firms that do not completely understand the entirety of the FDCPA, or the best practices recognized by the industry's leaders, should consider outsourcing the collection process to a company that specializes in all of the associated activities.