Christian Consumer Debt Recovery
Although Christian consumer debt recovery through the use of a collection agency used to bring terror to borrowers who were experiencing financial difficulties, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA ) has restored a measure of balance to the collections industry. Now, collections personnel are the ones who are obligated to tiptoe around litigation and class action suits while struggling with a fairly well-defined set of regulations regarding consumer debt recovery. At times it may even seem difficult for agencies to comply with the full round of instructions as they maneuver through this legal minefield. Actions, not good intentions, are generally what courts deem as valid evidence in appealing these cases. Therefore, it is prudent for those involved in debt recovery to carefully consider the methods of collecting funds. Otherwise, some may find themselves becoming debtors as they repay damages and additional penalties!
In the past, a person whose creditor referred their account to a collections agency anticipated a lengthy time of being harassed and threatened verbally. At certain times and places, debtors were probably threatened physically as well. Telephone callers demanded payment at all hours of the day and night. Threats of indebtedness being made known to employers or neighbors haunted a debtor's thoughts. Now, however, collections agencies are limited in the hours they may contact debtors for consumer debt recovery. Such calls may only be made between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Debt collectors may also contact a person by mail, telegram, fax, or in person. However, these agents can not continue to contact a person at work if they are informed that the employer does not appreciate such activity.
The contacts must be accomplished in such a way that is not deemed abusive, profane or threatening. No idle threats are permitted regarding what legal actions are pending. In other words, if the creditor has no intention of following through on certain legal options for consumer debt recovery, the collector can not act as though this is a possibility. No false paperwork may be given which deceptively gives the impression that these are legal papers, and actual legal papers may not be disguised as mere paperwork. A collections agent can not pretend to be an attorney or member of some government agency in order to force payments to be made.
Debt collectors involved in consumer debt recovery are not allowed to involve a third party, except to gain information about the debtor's address, phone or workplace. They may not indicate that this is for the purpose of collecting a debt, although they are permitted to reveal their employer if asked for this information. Usually no more than one contact is made with third parties, unless something has changed which leads the collections agent to believe that the person may have additional information. If the collection agency knows that the individual is represented by an attorney, that attorney is the one who should be contacted. So stringent is the effort to keep the debtor from embarrassment that even mail items may not indicate from their appearance that their purpose is consumer debt recovery. Postcards can not be used to contact the debtor, as these may be readily viewed by other parties. Also, debtors may not be subject to having their names revealed in a listing which indicates their situation, or calls their character into question.
Those involved in consumer debt recovery must give the debtor a written notice within five days of the first contact. This item should indicate the amount owed, the creditor's name, and the actions which should be taken if the consumer does not believe that he owes this account any money. In addition, if the consumer does not wish further contact with the collection agency, he or she can write them a letter stating this request. There should be no further contact except to acknowledge compliance with this request (which is somewhat humorous considering that the request was for contact to cease!) or to inform the debtor of a creditor's intent to pursue some specific action. However, if the item is a legitimate charge, it still needs to be paid, and will not be discharged by this letter to the collection agency. The collection agent may not be able to continue to contact, but the person can still be sued by either the agency or the creditor.
Any abuses which occur should be reported to the Attorney General of the state and the Federal Trade Commission. In addition to any action these agencies may take on the behalf of the debtor, the information about the case is useful in establishing trends and the need for specific legislation in areas of misconduct which seem to recur repeatedly. Those involved in debt recovery should take the time to review the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in order to take note of specific obligations which they may have which are too complex to be outlined here. Individual states may have additional restrictions for those involved in consumer debt recovery.
Philippians 2:3-4 says, Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. There are two sides of the collections procedure. The debtor is under obligation to pay for legitimate debts. The collection agent must clearly state the obligations which need to be met, and also go about the business of collecting these debts in a fair and non-threatening manner which shields the debtor from undue embarrassment. Legal recourse is available for both sides for dealing with uncooperative partners in these arrangements. Therefore there is no call for abusive tactics or character assassination. Instead, each should treat the other in the way he or she would wish to be treated in the same situation.
Christian Debt Recovery CompaniesDebt recovery companies used to be called bill collectors or collection agencies but debt recovery is more accepted term these days. When a company holds a bad money account for an extended period of time, it will probably turn the account over to one of the many collection agencies which will attempt to collect at least a portion of the money owed the business. Countless stories have been written and anecdotal testimonies have been told regarding the strong arm tactics that collectors have taken in the past to secure overdue account money. Thankfully those days seem to be passed, due in part to recent laws passed by Congress to rein in these intimidating ways to collect money. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has insured that debt recovery companies comply with strict standards including the end of threats and harassment.
When a company uses one of the debt recovery companies is really up to each company and their tolerance for unpaid accounts. Some companies do not wait over thirty days. Other companies and businesses wait up to a year while working with delinquent accounts until their patience runs out. One of the most trying parts of a business handling their own collection process is the constant and often draining communication that must go on with the debtor to try and collect revenue. But once a company does decide to turn over the collection process to a recovery company, the communication responsibility becomes a non-issue for the company that is owed payment.
Since a company must pay the collection agency either a flat retainer fee or a percentage of the recovered debt, the business must have some clear signals as to when the time is right to employ the collection service. The following are some of the indications that debt recovery companies must be employed. After a customer has not paid and contact from the company is made, the customer begins to make complaints about the product or service, usually with groundless charges. The customer begins to deny that any money is owed the company. The customer doesn't respond to notices in the mail or hangs up on company phone calls. And of course the big one is when the customer moves and leaves no forwarding address or changes phone numbers.
In recent years, debt recovery companies have learned that showing a softer side has actually helped in recovering more of the lost revenue for their clients. Some agencies have combined their recovery business with debt counseling services, helping debtors to restructure their debt. Restructured loans then become easier to handle and companies can retrieve high percentages of lost revenue. Other collection companies have expanded to include billing and accounting to enhance their own marketability. One of the recent trends in recovery of outstanding debts is the specialization of certain types of loan defaults. When dealing with student loan defaults, certain government loans and even some medical bills, specific information is needed and particular methods of recovering such debt is called for.
If a company is going to hire one of the many debt recovery companies, a few things should be kept in mind. First, references should be checked thoroughly to see if the collection agency conforms to an image with which the hiring company is comfortable. Secondly, all accreditation and licensing should be verified. Then, if the debtor is now in another state, jurisdiction for collecting in that state should be verified. Finally, a client should look at all the written information that will be sent to account debtors to see if it has the image the client wants to convey to its wayward customers. Letterhead with crossed swords at the top may not be the image that will sway the debtor! Jesus made it clear that His authority is eternal. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Mark 13:31)
Unfortunately, not all debt recovery companies adhere to the fair collection practice demanded by federal law. So what is a person to do if confronted with a bullying bill collector? Initially a person must know his rights under the law. Many online websites are ready and willing to help with excellent advice in dealing with unfair collection practices. In general, the advice includes things like keeping one's cool when speaking to the person, which may prove to be very difficult if the collector is abusive in tone or language! Limiting answers to very brief lengths is also important and this includes not giving out any personal information of any kind. Experts also suggest that when talking to a collector that no sob stories be unveiled because the collector has heard them all!
Christian debt recovery companies are the last link in the chain before someone usually declares bankruptcy or skips town to avoid the hassle. But there are some steps that a person can pursue before having to worry about whether the next phone call is from the "Gotcha!" collection agency. One of the first steps is to seek out a free counseling agency that will sit down and help sort out all of the numbers. Often times it just takes an outside resource person to help sort out the hidden issues. But a person mired deep in debt must also be willing to think outside the box and be willing to take on a second job to pay down debts or sell possessions. As daunting as this all might seem, it is a mountain that can be climbed!