News & Resources

Getting the right person on the line

Nov 18, 2014 Philip Burgess

Getting the right person on the line

Debt collectors may have a wide array of tools at their disposal to try and find the people who owe money such as consumer credit reports and a backlog of personal information, but that doesn't always ensure that employees will find the person they're looking for.

In many instances, collectors might seem like private investigators, tracking down leads and following up on clues. Workers in the debt collection field might appear like detectives as they pursue debtors, but it's important to remember industry regulations and proper behavior. There may be instances when the phone rings and a complete stranger answers with no knowledge of the subject whatsoever. It is pivotal for employees to maintain their sense of professionalism at all times and remember to keep their eyes on their goals to find any relevant information available to help them in their search.

The quest begins for collectors

Before callers can start opening up avenues of communication with debtors or even set up a payment plan for people struggling with their finances, collectors need to find the right person. This can be a challenge, especially when employees are working with outdated information.

Creditors may release to agencies all the data they have on a debtor, but that doesn't mean it will be easy to track them down, stated The New York Times. Some of the information collection agencies receive may be completely wrong altogether, forcing workers to gather as many leads as possible from a variety of sources.

This can include someone who lives at the house where the defaulter previously resided or even family members and friends listed on file. Sometimes callers may find someone who has a new phone number or an idea of where the debtor moved to, but that's not always the case. Employees should always go by the FDCPA when talking to people who don't actually own the debt.

Having the wrong contact information stored can start to cause problems with innocent bystanders. This is why it's particularly important to operate with conduct worthy of the practice to limit the impact on the lives of those without any standing loans or bills.

Otherwise, collection agencies may receive an array of complaints and maybe even accusations of harassment if they're continuously contacted about a debt they have nothing to do with. People are likely to be most cooperative the first interaction, but if the incorrect information is kept on file, such patience can wear out.

Conduct worthy of the profession
Collection workers always have the chance of talking to someone who is less than polite, but they need to maintain composure at all times to preserve the integrity of the agency. The receiver of a letter or phone call that's not intended for them doesn't have to provide any information relating to the case and should not be forced to do so. While these tips may prove very beneficial, some people may sincerely know nothing and not want to be bothered again.

Employees should respect this to comply with current laws and regulations. Even if a caller does manage to reach their intended subject, it's imperative they understand the rights of the debtor and not get swept up in the joy of finally discovering the correct information.

Defaulters have the right to request that collection agencies stop contacting them, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. When people send in a written request for agencies to cease contact, they must oblige. Otherwise their actions may constitute as harassment. This doesn't mean debt collection groups don't have other means of securing payment. They can pursue legal action or refer a debtor to a credit reporting company.