First, you need to start evaluating your in house collection program. Second, you need to make sure your Collection Agency is compliant.
Here is a general list of the proposed changes:
Collection Agencies will be required to have information that demonstrates they are contacting the correct person about your debt. This would include information provided in your Application, specific billing information and the results of any pre-credit investigations you use.
This is a good rule for everybody. It not only protects consumers from incorrect collection efforts, it forces Agencies to verify information. It also protects you from inadvertently damaging an innocent consumer’s credit.
Consumers could not be contacted more than six times per week and consumers could demand that no contact be made on any or all contact points such as calling work or calling a cell phone before 5:00 PM.
This should be an existing part of any Debt Collection Agency protocol because a comfortable consumer is more likely to resolve the claim. In any event, no debt collection should have the right to contact a consumer who does not want to be contacted. Other remedies exist such as Credit Bureau reporting or Litigation.
Collectors will have to provide Consumers with their legal writes including the right to dispute the debt and if the debt was too old for litigation. The Collector would be required to prove the validity of the debt upon request from the Consumer.
If you want to get paid you should be doing this now. It is not realistic to assume the Consumer has the same perspective as you. You need to understand your contract and create verification of the bill.
Upon receipt of a written dispute, the Debt Collector must send written verification of the debt and cannot contact the Consumer until the verification is completed. This will also help Debt Collectors and your In-House effort because it expresses a clear interest in listening to the Consumer and resolving the dispute.
Most disputes are done in an attempt to remove a Credit Bureau listing and are totally without merit. Some, however, are real and reflect an error in the billing process. It is important to have a readily available procedure for Consumers to have these errors corrected.
Consumers are entitled to a copy of all material validating the debt. Once disputed, a Debt Collector may not contact a Consumer until that material is provided. In addition the Debt Collector is responsible for checking all information validating the debt to make sure it is complete.
You should make sure your current Debt Collection Agency is doing this now. You should also start reviewing your current In-House collection policies to assure they conform to these changes.
The best reason to follow the rules is that angry Consumers don’t pay nearly as often as those who feel they are being treated with respect.
Follow the rules. It’s all about the money!
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