Take Pity on the Bill Collector

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June 11, 2015 by Lisa Brammer

It’s Throwback Thursday. Before I post today’s blog, I want to take the time to tell you a little about our guest blogger, Ed Cox. Ed was the president and owner of United Credit Service, Inc. (and father of our current vice-president and co-owner Jim Cox) from 1974 until his passing in 1997. Before purchasing UCS, Ed was a co-owner of 3 collection agencies in Illinois. Since his partner did not share his vision of a computerized collection industry, Ed brought his family north to Fontana (where they frequently vacationed) and purchased UCS which was located just a few blocks away from our present location in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Over the years, UCS initiated the development and programming of an in-house, computerized, paperless collection system. That system—the first of its kind in the state of Wisconsin—was up and operational in September 1981.

In the mid 1980’s Ed began educating clients by providing them written communiqués—bulletins—that offered a window into the collection industry.

As part of our 65th anniversary celebration, and a way to honor our past president and mentor, we are going to post, over the next few weeks, a few of Ed’s bulletins, but first we are going to post this 1980’s communication he wrote called “Take Pity on the Bill Collector.”

Can you imagine what if would be like, if your boss, the doctor, only got paid by patients he treated successfully? That means all the terminal cancer patients, the stroke victims, those suffering from diseases resulting from age, loss of limb, sight or hearing, could avoid payment.

The cost of successfully treating a simple virus or giving a physical examination would skyrocket. It would give new meaning to the term, “beyond reasonable and customary.” The patient who survived the treatment would die of shock when he got his bill.

Not to worry, no doctor is that dumb….but the bill collector is.

He rents office space and furnishes it at his own expense. He buys a sophisticated computer system and the hardware to go along with it. He then stocks the office with office supplies, paper products, typewriters, and a photocopy machine and telephones, next, he hits the streets and attempts to seduce the various credit grantors into giving him some accounts to collect. If he is successful, he runs back to the office and pays an employee to process the accounts into collection. He pays the postage on the notices. He pays for the telephone calls that are made. If it becomes necessary to file suit, he pays the attorney and advances the court cost out of his own pocket. If the patient “skips” he pays for skip tracing, he pays for address corrections and he pays for the credit reports. The bill collector is so dumb, he does all of this with no guarantee of payment. If the patient dies, or the account is uncollectable for any reason, your collector is “out of luck.” This is the reason he charges so much for the accounts he does collect.

It would be wonderful if you would take pity on the bill collector, and look upon the effort to collect as a mutually beneficial partnership. You, the credit grantor, provide the account and the collector provides the facilities and investment necessary to collect the account. But, it is not right to give your collector an account and then ignore him as a partner. You have a responsibility to help.

There is no such thing as an uncollectable account. There are only economically uncollectable accounts. You can help to convert economically uncollectable accounts into collectable accounts. Here are some things you can do to help your partner: (please remember when reading the following, Ed wrote this in the 1980’s)

1. Report payments promptly.
2. If the debtor pays by check, give your partner the name and location of the bank.
3. If the debtor goes bankrupt, forward the notice to your partner immediately.
4. If a “Notice of Foreclosure” is served upon you, do not send it to your corporate attorney, send it to your collection partner. We routinely file for excess in a foreclosure. This frequently results in full payment. If you fail to notify your partner, you will lose your lien and your partner will lose the court costs he advanced on your behalf.
5. If your partner requests authorization to refer your account for litigation, check your files for new or additional charges that may be referred to increase the account balance.

Founded in 1950, United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service, licensed revenue cycle management and debt collection agency in Wisconsin providing effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. Visit our website at http://www.unitedcreditservice.com, call 877-723-2902 or check out our YouTube video.

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