Every industry has its horror stories. If you talk to enough people, you’re bound to come across someone who was ripped off by a contractor or had their wedding ruined by an incompetent photographer. The debt collection business is no different, except that it tends to receive more scrutiny than the average industry.
Debt is a sensitive subject around the world these days, and debt collectors are feared and looked down on by most of society. This makes it very difficult for the respectable, upstanding debt collection agencies to conduct their business. An article that was published in Newsweek last January highlighted a number of abusive practices employed by different agencies attempting to pursue bad debt collection.
Here are some of the tactics described in that article that have given the debt collection industry a bad name:
- A former debt collector in California was cramped into a cubicle and ordered to immediately call back anyone who hung up on her, which is against state law. She was also told to contact the debtor’s family, friends, and neighbors, which is also against the law. She even overheard some of her co-workers threatening Spanish-speaking debtors with being deported.
- One debt collector suggested that his coworkers would friend debtors on Facebook in an attempt to learn more about their personal lives and use that information to pressure the debtors into making payments.
- The article profiled a young man who had been pressured by multiple debt collection companies regarding a debt that had been settled a long time ago.
- There was a man from Dallas, Texas who was harassed by debt collectors who left disgusting racist messages on his voicemail.
- A man from Baltimore is still being harassed by multiple debt collection agencies about a carpet he purchased in 2004, despite the fax that he has letters from both the original carpet company and the state attorney general’s office stating that the debt had been paid in full.
As you can see, debt collection has become a very unpopular business. The actions of some extremely unprofessional debt collectors have ruined the reputation of the entire industry. The result has been that normal business people are afraid to pursue collecting outstanding debts owed to them because they don’t want to be seen as “debt collectors.”
While there is no doubt that there are bad people in the debt collection industry, there are also agencies that collect the right way. There are agencies that follow all state and federal collection laws. There are even agencies that go above and beyond in attempting to help debtors climb out of their debt.
If you are considering collecting debts independently or hiring debt recovery specialists, make sure that you do your homework. You will only want to work with people that have a reputation for doing business the right way.
Any debt collection company that you choose to work with should be required to demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt that they conduct their business in an appropriate manner. Otherwise, you shouldn’t associate yourself or your business with that agency.