If you find yourself dealing with a debtor who is struggling to make payments, chances are pretty good that you are not the only person that the debtor is struggling to pay. Once a debtor begins to fall behind, it is reasonable to assume that they are having the same problem with everyone that they have credit with.
When debtors realize that they are at the point where they can no longer make their payments, many begin to turn to books and educational courses from a number of different financial gurus. While this does show that the debtor has a desire to get out of debt, many of these debt gurus will instruct your debtor to treat any commercial debt collection attempt in a hostile manner. In order to avoid confrontation, you might want to consider ways to avoid acting like a typical debt collector.
Having a good understanding of what these debt gurus are saying about debt collectors will give you a solid understanding of how the debtor is expecting you to handle the situation. By acting in a manner that differs from how debt collectors are expected to behave, you might have a much better chance of actually collecting the amount owed.
Here are four common assumptions about how debt collectors operate:
They Make Empty Threats
Second rate debt collectors are notorious for making threats that they have no legal way of fulfilling. They might threaten to garnish paychecks or suggest that the debtor could face criminal charges. Some debt collectors will even stoop to the level of physically threatening a debtor’s family.
Because many debtors will expect this type of behavior from a debt collector, you will get much better results from avoiding making any type of threats. Treat your debtors in a polite and professional manner, and you will find that you can produce much better results in the long run. You will also be able to live with yourself.
They Call at Inappropriate Times
Another famous complaint about most debt collectors is that they call at the absolute worst possible times. They always seem to call right in the middle of lunch or dinner, and some of them call late at night or early in the morning while the debtor is still sleeping.
If you have to make a collection call, the most professional time to do so is either late morning or early afternoon. Confining your collection calls to regular business hours is a great way to stand out from other collectors, which might move you to the front of the line when the debtor is able to make a payment. If you are dealing with international debt collection, make sure you correctly calculate the time difference.
They Contact Friends, Neighbors, and Relatives
It is completely illegal for any debt collector to discuss a debt with any friends, neighbors, or relatives of a debtor. However, this is becoming a more and more popular way to shame debtors into making payments.
You will want to avoid this type of behavior primarily because of the legal ramifications. On top of that, avoiding these types of tactics is another way to separate yourself from the second-rate debt collectors that your debtor is likely dealing with.
They Don’t Put Settlement Details in Writing
One of the most underhanded tactics that is used by some debt collectors is making a verbal settlement with a debtor, and then changing the terms after a payment is made. That is why most debt gurus are advising debtors to get settlement terms in writing.
If you reach the point where you are ready to come to a settlement with your debtor, they are probably going to ask for the terms in writing. Since you know that they will probably ask, it is a good idea to have the terms ready for them ahead of time.
When you combine all of these tricks and tactics, it is easy to understand why many debt gurus refer to debt collectors as “the scum of the earth.” However, by understanding what other debt collectors are doing wrong, you can choose to conduct your business in a very different manner. This will set you apart from other debt collectors in the minds of your debtors, which will hopefully lead to faster collections.