External collection agencies, remedial is not your space…

Theda Muller

When your portfolio has been hard core collections for years and decades, then jumping onto the remedial band wagon simply because it is perceived to be ‘the flavour of the day’, or ‘the closest fad to a money-spinner’, then you need to fully understand the remedial concept before inflicting more damage onto debtors seeking a remedial solution.

This is a serious issue because debtors face the same action and demands as they do from their creditors collections departments, so you are not adding value by simply imposing the same policies and typical examples are manipulating debtors to pay an EMI and then proceeding to promise a restructure, which inevitably never materializes, where most times your sole objective is to secure your bucket allocation.

So no, you don’t get to use a debtor’s vulnerability and once you achieved your objective, the debtor is allocated to the next collector who acts ignorant like they don’t know the previous promises made.

Remedial is sincere intent to authentically support a debtor who has passed the initial due diligence process to qualify for such consideration, where within this arena, the focus is on honesty and sincerity with the debtor to ensure you can fulfill your promises, not give hope where you know there is none and of course this depends entirely upon whether or not you have a conscience, or you never imagine that you too can face this same problem in the future, as nobody is immune to facing a debt-crisis.

There are half a handful of external collection agencies that are allocated an account and find the debtor is locally untraceable, after many attempts to contact the debtor, to no avail.

Later the debtor walks into a remedial company for assistance after many attempts for a solution with their creditor collections and external collections agencies and find the help they need with the remedial company, who then finds that the external agency is allocated that specific account.

In most cases these external agencies have their back up against the wall justifying not co-operating with a reason that they don’t deal with third parties, in spite of the remedial company being authorized by the debtor via a LOA (Letter of Authority) or POA (Power of Attorney).

So the remedial company directly contacts the bank creditor, resolves the problem and the external agency is monetary compensated in spite of them not co-operating with the remedial company.

So they get the credit not only monetary but also otherwise, yet they were not prepared to assist in all aspects.

The significance here is that the remedial company’s core focus is not just the money, but rendering a sterling service to ensure referrals for continuity of business, where you cannot buy a reputation and credibility in any store. When you genuinely help people in a dire crisis, it comes back to you without fail.

There is absolutely no way an existing collections company can project a remedial façade for key reasons below, which are aged-old tactics applied against debtors.

So you cannot awake tomorrow morning and try to convince a debtor that you suddenly had a change of mind to be ‘Mr Nice’, as it doesn’t work that way.

So, external collection agencies tactics were and still is:

a. Continual telephonic demands and threats to either visit their office or bounce their cheque;

b. Visits to office, demanding to meet with the HR, regardless if the debtor will lose their job and this has happened in incidents we are aware of;

c. Promising to resolve the debtors problem the remedial way just to secure an EMI and then ignoring the debtor’s calls once the EMI is secured;

d. Consistently calling family and friends of the debtor locally and internationally in spite of the debtor regularly calling for a solution, thus inflicting more humiliation, shame and embarrassment, also opening up a can of worms that was not needed;

e. Serving legal notices to the office which are most times simple documentation with no real legal action taken, which places the debtor in a very bad position with their employer, with job loss being a threat;

f. Actually screaming and abusing a debtor telephonically with their intended legal action and exactly what the outcome will be for the debtor, depicting the worst image imaginable, i.e. very unnecessary scary tactics that could have been avoided;

g. Calling the debtor’s wife and detailing the same scary tactics, also demanding payment from her including insulting and abusing their rights with her, where this has been done many times I am personally aware of and it’s unacceptable;

There are too many facts to list here, the point being that wherever you as the external collection representative originate from, we don’t practice those abusive obnoxious policies here, firstly there is:

1. Respect to all people when addressing them;

2. Ethical behavior because you represent a bank most of the time, which has stringent policies, which I am sure you are expected to confirm to;

3. Respectful messages via text or email and telephonically, because it is a crime to act otherwise, just debtors are vulnerable and most of the time not able to report such abuse, so you are knowingly out of context with your bad behavior;

4. The ability to understand when a debtor is being sincere as there is nothing worse in the world to be accused of being irresponsible, a liar and a cheater, when actually as a debtor you are sincerely trying your best with the hope that your creditor will understand your situation;

5. Lose the notion and fallacy that you are perched on some glorified platform of superiority, because you’re not, you’re simply there to collect money, so try your best to be a human and learn to serve and then the money will come;

I don’t know if creditors or external agency collection representatives truly understand the mind-set of a genuine debtor facing a debt-crisis, the emotional turmoil, being engulfed in continual fear, just believing people where they find a glimmer of hope and then it’s false and their whole world continues to tumble, the courage it took to step forward and take ownership and responsibility for their debt, the humiliation, degradation and shame on this journey is immeasurable.

But if those on the other side of the table can sincerely have a heart of a listening ear, kindness and help when the debtor is sincerely, then you have won more than half the battle for all concerned parties.

Let me reiterate that I have made these points regardless of your accusations to the debtor about what happened to the money as this point is useless when you are facing the debtor who is asking for your help. You don’t go backwards, you look forward to progress, that’s beating old drums you will never get an answer for, not now or tomorrow.

You don’t just jump onto a bandwagon of servitude when you know nothing about being a human being towards other people, because if you do, you will find yourself on the wrong side in due time and it’s clear that due diligence is not researched and applied to ensure external collection agencies can meet remedial requirements, it’s just a copy/paste story, when realistically, you are dealing with human lives, not objects who have no emotions.

It’s not just a money-making adventure to add to your existing trade licence, it’s a sincere job that you must learn to take seriously and do a good job of it at the end of the day.

If you can’t meet these requirements then stick to what you know and do best, collections and it’s really very simple.