Public Humiliation Used to Collect Debts
Below is a story about trickery from a debt collection agency in Spain. These kind of tactics were used here in the United States back in the 1970’s. As a consequence of these kind of abusive debt collection practices the FDCPA / Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was enacted in 1979 by the United States Congress. The FDCPA strictly prohibits public humiliation and shaming debtors into paying a debt. These kind of collection tactics and behaviors result in sanctions, fines and orders to suspend the operations of the collection agency.
Working from Home
The changing patterns in working from home will affect how debts are collected.
- Collectors will need to respect the rules and operative guidelines of the FDCPA when it comes to recognizing a debtor as a consumer debt or commercial debt.
- Confirming the RPA, Right Party Contact, will be critical. Collectors must avoid third party disclosure to members of the household.
- Demand letters sent to a residential address will need to be in compliance with FDCPA regulations and the operative guidelines of the CFPB – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- The use of telephonic devices, cell phone, Zoom, Webex, WhatsApp will create new challenges for collectors.
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Are Your Collectors Up to Speed?
What qualities should you look for when interviewing candidates for the position of Collector.
- Do they present themselves in a professional manner?
- Are they well groomed?
- Are they able to engage with people while maintaining a positive and helpful attitude?
- Can they articulate well in both verbal and written language?
- Do their writing skills incorporate correct grammar and spelling, whether formulating an email, text, or collection letter?
Is your company providing ongoing training for new hires?
- What is the candidate’s level of proficiency in the collection industry’s procedures and laws?
- Is the candidate open to ongoing training and improvement of their job skills and willing to put in the time to learn?
- Is the candidate trained in negotiating techniques and are they good listeners?
While it is unlikely that you will be able to know right away that you’ve hired the right person for the job, it is important that in the hiring process a reasonable amount of time is taken to run the candidate through a variety of scenarios to see how they respond. A process should be in place within your company to make sure that the candidate is monitored and coached throughout their trial period as well as provided with opportunities for ongoing education and training.
This article was inspired by Thomas W. Hamilton’s post in the Aug. 11, 2021 issue of the American Lawyers Quarterly Newsletter.
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