October 14, 2020 by Mark Hammerstrom
“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.”—Mark Twain
Bad actors. They are everywhere, aren’t they? They are in the theater, they are in politics, they are in government, religion and, of course, they are in business. Certainly, as we know too well, they are in the debt collection business too.
How does one become a Bad Actor? I think for the most part it is a desire to succeed by taking easy, unethical (and often illegal) shortcuts to achieve a shortsighted goal. Kind of a hit and run if you will.
Doing this, though, almost always has a bad ending for the Bad Actor and likewise a bad ending for the ones who were sucked into the Bad Actor’s scam in the first place.
Unfortunately, and all too often, the Bad Actors get the attention and have the effect of tainting an entire industry.
United Credit Service has seen our share of Bad Actors over the seventy years we have been in business. We spend an amazing amount of time cleaning up after them and complying with a strict regulatory environment.
We have been successful in doing this. Rarely over our considerable history have we been legally challenged on any of our practices, and when we have our track record of prevailing is exceptional. We have even lost an occasional client to a Bad Actor, only to have them come back to us when they realize the good and trusted relationship they have had with us.
A business is not privileged to survive for seventy years without doing things the right way. Longevity in this business takes strict adherence to local, state, and federal regulations, as well as a committed respect for consumer rights as we pursue the collection of a legitimate debt. Our valued clients depend on us for that.
Recently, Credit Karma posted an interesting blog titled “Contacted by a debt collector? 6 things to know about your rights” by Paris Ward (read it here). While it is written for debtors, her focus could just as well be on does the debt collection agency comply with all these consumer rights? Our answer is yes, we do.
Ward notes: “The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, gives consumers protections at the federal level, and most states also have laws about debt collection practices.”
As noted earlier, we abide by all local, state and federal laws regarding debt collection and are fully licensed to collect and do business in the States in which we collect.
We also abide by all of the requirements of the FDCPA.
Here is an edited summary of her key points that should help separate the Bad Actors from legitimate collectors.
- Right to a written notice explaining [the] debt: “The FDCPA states that debt collectors must provide…[specific] information in writing within five days of first contacting [the debtor]” This information includes:
- The amount of the debt.
- The name of the creditor.
- That [the debtor] can dispute the debt.
- A statement that — unless [the debtor] dispute[s] the validity of the debt or any of the amount within 30 days after receiving notice — the debt collector will assume the debt to be valid.
- A statement that if [the debtor] disputes the debt in writing within 30 days, the debt collector must provide verification of the debt.
- A statement that the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt, if [the debtor] notif[ies] the debt collector in writing within the 30-day period that the debt (or any portion of it) is disputed.
- The name and address of the original creditor (if different than the current creditor) as long as [the debtor] request[s] the information in writing within 30 days.
Upon the placement of a debt with us, United Credit Service immediately sends this information to the debtor and thus fully complies with this requirement.
- Right to know the debt collector or debt collection agency: “Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are required to identify themselves when they attempt to collect a debt as well as note that any information [the debtor] give[s] them will be used in an attempt to collect the debt. They also must give you the name of their company or agency”.
United Credit service always provides this information and fully complies with this requirement.
- Right not to be harassed: “In addition to identifying themselves and letting [the debtor] know that they’re attempting to collect a debt, debt collectors have certain rules they have to stick to.”:
- [Debt collectors cannot] [c]all [a debtor] before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. or call [a debtor] at work if [the debtor has] communicated [they] can’t be called there.
- Yell, swear or use other harassing language.
- Threaten [the debtor] with anything outside of what they can legally enforce.
- “Engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt,” including calling a lot or dialing [the debtor] and then hanging up.
United Credit Service strictly abides by these requirements. Our representatives are trained and certified in accepted collections procedures, requirements and etiquette. We fully comply with these requirements.
- Right to privacy of [a debtors] personal information: Debt collectors are limited in what they can say or ask about [a debtor] to other people. (They also can’t contact those people more than once.).
United Credit Service abides by all debtor information privacy requirements (including HIPAA). We do not release information regarding a debtor to anyone.
- Right to dispute incorrect debt: “If a debtor] believe[s] the debt being collected is inaccurate, [they] have 30 days from the date [they are] first contacted by a debt collector to dispute the debt in writing…after 30 days, the debt collector can legally attempt to collect the debt…[I}f [the debtor] dispute[s] the debt, the debt collector is legally obligated to verify the debt before proceeding with any collections action. While they’re verifying the debt, the debt collector can’t contact [the debtor] to attempt to collect it.”
United Credit Service abides by all debt dispute and resolution regulations including full verification and resolution of any disputed debts.
- Steps to take to pay off debt in collections: The key for debtors to resolve their debts with legitimate and high-quality debt collection agencies is communication.
United Credit Service will work with debtors to ensure the full payment of debts including payment plans that will ensure resolution.
Think you have been taken by a Bad Actor in the collection industry? We are here to help. Let us know what we can do to help you ethically and legally recover your bad debts.
United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service, licensed revenue cycle management and debt collection agency that has been providing effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners in the Midwest since 1950. Visit our website at http://www.unitedcreditservice.com, call 877-723-2902, or check out our YouTube video.