Commercial debt collection is typically a pretty boring operation. Between all of the documentation and paper pushing, there is actually not much of anything about the process that is worth getting excited about. But every once in a while a creditor will come across a situation where a debtor becomes hostile. When you find yourself in one of those situations, having a plan in place to deal with it can be a true life saver.
One of the most common ways that a debt collection can become hostile is when the debtor starts to threaten the collector. They might suggest that they will file for bankruptcy instead of making good on their obligations. They might say that they will pay other creditors first out of spite. Or they might just threaten to never pay anything at all.
No matter what type of debtor threat you are confronted with in your collection process, the only thing that you really have control over is how you handle the situation on your end. In order to help you with that, we have put together six key things to remember at all times.
In most cases, debtors who are making threats are doing so in hopes that the debt collector will back off. This is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. Time is the most critical factor in a debt collection situation, and any extra time you give the debtor because they are threatening you will dramatically reduce your chances of receiving any type of compensation.
Stick to Your Plan
Rather than allowing a debtor to slow you down, make sure that you stick to your written debt collection strategy. You put that plan in place for a reason, and the more hostile a collection becomes, the more important that plan will be.
Focus on the Facts
Because most types of debtor threats come from an emotional place, one of the best ways that you can respond to them is by dealing with the facts of the case. In all of your communications with a hostile debtor, make sure that you avoid any type of speculation and simply state the facts related to the account.
Respect All Regulations
It is also important that you make sure to follow the letter of the law in all collection scenarios. No matter what a hostile debtors says or does, you must always be sure to stay inside the lines defined by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and any similar legislation in your area.
Always Remain Calm
How you respond to a debtor’s threats will always impact where the situation goes from there. If you allow the debtor to get you into an emotional state of mind, they will likely take advantage of that and attempt to do it again in the future. However, if you are able to remain calm despite their threats, you will establish a moral high ground that is more likely to be respected in the future.
Avoid Waiting and Hoping
Debtors who make threats to their creditors are usually attempting to buy time for themselves. If you give them more time on account of those threats, you put yourself in a position where you are going to be waiting and hoping to receive payment at some point.
Instead of waiting and hoping, you should be actively pursuing what is rightfully yours. In many cases, the best way to do exactly that is to partner with a commercial debt collection agency that has experience dealing with hostile debtors and getting results despite those hostilities.