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Friday, March 25, 2011

Video From ABC about Illegal Debt Collection Practices

I used to work for a credit card company, which specializes in offering credit to people with bad credit. I did not like the job, because it required collection calls to the nonpaying  customers.  Most of the customers that I contacted either forgot to pay or were not able to pay, for whatever reasons.  We were told to contact customers whom were delinquent on payments at any phone number that the customer listed in the company's records.  These numbers included home phone numbers and work phone numbers. 

We would call each customer everyday, within certain time limits, according to law.  Once we actually spoke to a customer we did not contact the customer again for that day.  And if the customer told us not to call their job, during the course of a discussion, we were not supposed to call the customer's job again.  The entire purpose of the collection calls was to remind the customer that he or she is late making their payment.  Then from there, the collector's were supposed to explain what the customers' repayment options are and to persuade the customer to make a payment on the spot.

Under no circumstances were collectors working at this company permitted to be abusive towards the customers.  In fact, many of the calls are monitored and if it were ever discovered that a customer service rep or bill collector were disrespectful to a customer, then that bill collector would be subject to termination.

On the flip side, I would occasionally receive a hostile response from some of the customers that I tried to collect from. There were times that I was screamed at, insulted, and cursed at by hostile customers. These types of situations were the exception, as most customers knew that it was their responsibility to pay their bills on time.  Most did not take out any frustration on me, because they understood that I was doing my job.

So, from this experience, I know that not all debt collectors are abusive to consumers. However, the establishment that I worked for is not a collection agency. It is a bank and an original creditor. Many times, there is a big difference in the treatment that consumers receive from their original creditors and from third party collection agencies.  Third party collection agencies are either hired by original creditors to collect debt.  Some third party collection agencies buy the debt from the original creditors for pennies on the dollar and try to collect the balance of the debt (or a portion) for a profit.

Debt collectors are sometimes brutal and they play on consumer's ignorance of their legal rights and shame that they aren't able to repay their debts.  It is amazing the lengths that bill collectors will go to.  It is like some of the debt collectors are trying to get blood from a stone.

If you can't pay your debts at this time, then don't worry yourself too much about it. Your life and health is worth much more than what you may owe or material possessions. When you are in a position to repay, then you will pay, but in the meantime, let that extra stress go. I speak from the experience of having debt.

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