Collectors Get a Bad Rap

When a collection agency makes the news, it’s not normally a positive event that caused the news coverage. Couple that with the fact that the only people who come in contact with a collection agency are consumers who allegedly owe a debt… and no one likes to have to deal with a past due debt.

Understandably, the collector is not the most popular person and for those reasons, collectors get a “bad rap”. They are often viewed as uneducated vultures that prey on the less fortunate and they are often told they should get a real job. I would like to say one thing to those who have that opinion of collectors. You just might be wrong…

I cannot speak about all collectors and all collection agencies and like every industry; there are always a few bad apples. Unfortunately, those bad apples give many collectors a bad name. I have found that most collectors are good people who happen to be in the collection industry.

At American Profit Recovery, we hire professional, college educated individuals who are career minded and are in it for the long term. Don’t get me wrong, they work for their clients and their job is to collect on legitimate debts. However, their goal is to help the consumer find a way to pay their debt without it going any further than a phone call. They all take ACA International’s Collectors Pledge to treat the consumer with respect and this pledge is the foundation of their training and compliance practices. The Collector’s Pledge reads:

I believe every person has worth as an individual.
I believe every person should be treated with dignity and respect.
I will make it my responsibility to help consumers find ways to pay their debts.
I will be professional and ethical.
I will commit to honoring this pledge.

I bet there are not many people out there who know this. I bet there are not many people who know how generous collectors are with their time and money to charitable causes. You may have seen that American Profit Recovery has been recognized several times for our philanthropic ways. But, what you probably have not seen is the countless times they have helped the less fortunate with no recognition. They participate in annual cancer walks, they have donated enough necessities and presents to adopt TWO families this past Christmas for the Adopt-a-Family program, they donate a day of labor during Planet Day of Service on Earth Day and when one of their own are in need, they go above and beyond to pool together time and money to help any way they can.

I know this does not sound like how collectors are normally portrayed by the media. The reason is because it is not news when an agency goes above and beyond to help a consumer, its only news when a “bad apple” goes too far. Those collection agencies should be punished for their wrong doing, but at the same time, the good collectors and good agencies should be praised for doing it the right way. I know that is unrealistic in today’s society, so I wanted to take a few minutes to praise the collection staff at American Profit Recovery. Thank you for all that you do for the consumers who need your help. Thank you for helping Creditors recover lost revenue that eventually trickles down to help the economy. Thank you for all the effort and teamwork that makes American Profit Recovery a leader in dispelling the “Bad Rap” that collectors and collection agencies are saddled with every day.

Recently my family and I visited Niagara Falls for a quick weekend vacation. Being a Buffalo native growing up so close to the falls, I always took for granted what an amazing feat of nature they really are.

I always knew that people have harnessed Niagara Falls to provide electricit048y, but never knew that those efforts are also helping to preserve the falls. Left alone, the falls would erode at a rate of 10 feet per year. Because people have been diverting much of the Niagara River that would eventually reach the summit, the erosion rate is now only about 1 foot per year. In fact, they estimate that for much of the year, only 50% of the Niagara River actually reaches the summit of Niagara Falls. The rest is diverted for electrical power generation.

This got me thinking about the nature of our business. If creditors knew the advantage of being proactive (like those that harness the power of Niagara Falls), and outsourced their past-due receivables shortly after delinquency, they would not waste any revenue that would otherwise be lost by having those debts simply sit there on their balance sheet.

By identifying and diverting those slow-pay and delinquent accounts to an agency sooner rather than later, they would be left with a much more manageable and current Accounts Receivable balance sheet, and would thus be able to focus their attention on the more recent, and more collectible accounts.

Therefore, they would eventually limit the number of accounts that they would have to outsource to an agency, much the same way that the Niagara power plants limit the natural erosion of the falls.

To stare at the falls you cannot help but be awed by the power of nature, and yet, people have been able to maintain some measure of control. I hope any creditors with a lot of past due accounts avoid being intimidated or overwhelmed by the numbers, and take the initiative to get control back by utilizing an agency like American Profit Recovery.

Not only will we help collect the past due revenue, but we will do it diplomatically and maintain that relationship they have established with the consumer. Just like the Niagara powers plants conserve the beauty of the falls for generations to come.

A question that is frequently asked is “What type of training do collectors go through?”

A reputable collection agency will have a training program that covers a wide range of issues, knowledge and skills that are required and will continually reinforce that training. Below are some of the subjects covered in the training of debt collectors.

Personal Skills
Most reputable agencies hire people who can communicate well and then train them even further. The goal of an agency is to get payments secured for a client, so a collector needs to have superior skills in communicating with others. Debt resolutions come from a respectable dialogue and communication with consumers.

Regular Meetings
A collection agency with a good reputation will also hold regular meetings and trainings to review the quality of calls made to consumers. They will also use this time to review best practices in the industry, maximize the effectiveness of their communications and limit potential complaints made from those calls.

Local, State and Federal Laws
Since laws can change frequently training sessions on local, state and federal laws should be held on a regular basis to ensure compliance with these regulations. At American Profit Recovery there are meetings at least monthly and we incorporate other issues such as compliance with these laws as well as possible new laws and regulations that are being proposed.

Economic Impact
One thing that sets apart the good from the great are trainings about the impact our industry has on the economy. At APR we make it a point to reinforce just how important our efforts are to our clients as well as to the economy.

Billions of dollars each year are put back into businesses and the economy by the collection industry, and it’s important for those trying to collect payments to understand the importance of their work. Quality training makes any business better and makes them different from others.

Hear what our own Matt Moskowitz has to say about reputable collectors in the video below:

The Best Team In The Biz!

This week American Profit Recovery celebrated our Annual Employee Week. It’s designed to recognize the hard work and dedication the employees put forth during the year and it hopefully shows our employees that the owners appreciate the people that make it a great place to come to every day.

Employee week is important to me personally because we get a chance to get everyone under the same roof even if it’s only for a short period of time. We fly everyone from our North Carolina and Massachusetts office into our Michigan location for a few meetings, some hard work and a lot of fun. I think it’s great for everyone to be able to interact with each other and it gives everyone a better picture of what we are trying to accomplish here at American Profit Recovery, to provide our clients with the best collection strategy, the best customer service and the best experience in the industry.

This year we took everyone to a Detroit Tigers game, went bowling and had a fund raiser at a local sports bar. There was lots of food, including a breakfast that was prepared and served to all the employees by the owners, trivia games, movies in a the conference room during company provided lunches, prize give-a-ways and much more. Obviously everyone had a good time, but the collateral benefits of employee week will be a better product. Everyone will be re energized and refocused on being the best collection agency in the industry.

Ultimately our clients will be the beneficiary of Employee Week. Energized and happy employees translate to better customer service and a better client experience which makes Employee week worth all the effort. Thank you to everyone who put this all together and Thank you to everyone who makes American Profit Recovery what it is…..A great place to work.

Did you know that collection agencies do much more than collect debt? They are also involved in their communities through charities; they go through extensive training programs and are well versed in the laws pertaining to collections.

Job Creation

In the United States, collection agencies accounted for over 302,000 jobs in 2011, according to an ACA International survey by Ernst & Young. These employees helped their agencies to recover a total of $54.9 billion to the economy.

Training

Most reputable agencies belong to ACA International, which has a focus on training, laws and financial education. They also have their own “Code of Ethics” and Collectors pledge which goes above and beyond actual laws to ensure consumers are dealt with fairly and professionally.

At American Profit Recovery our team is made up of college educated, highly trained professionals. We pride ourselves on treating clients and their customers with respect and revolving debt quickly.

Resolved Complaints

In 2012 in the US, according to the Council of Better Business Bureaus, third-party collectors resolved 86% of the consumer complaints received. This is significantly higher than the national average of 77% for all other businesses.

Charity and Volunteer Work

Massachusetts Collection Agencies contributed 886 thousand dollars and 7,900 volunteer hours to local charities.

At APR we are annually involved in very involved in Adopt-A-Family for Christmas and participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Also, our employees take part in our APR’s Charities of Choice, where employees spend the summer raising money for charities of their choosing.

As you can see there is a lot more to collection agencies than collecting debt.

To learn more about APR and the charities we are involved with go to our website at americanprofit.net

Recently, I got the opportunity to be a guest on FOX 25 Boston to discuss how winter debt can lead to spring collection calls.  Read about our conversation here and watch the video below to hear the full discussion from the Fox 25 segment.

As spring rolls in, so do the bills from winter.

This year due to the polar vortex and a long winter some people are finding that they didn’t budget enough for the extra oil or high heating bills and now they need to prioritize their bills.

If you have fallen behind this winter, your bills may have gone into collection. Here are answers to some of the common questions asked about collection agencies and how to work with them.

What do you do if you get a call from a collector?

The most important thing is to not ignore it. It’s important that you communicate with the agency or the original creditor so you can work to set up an arrangement for payment.

What type of debt falls to collectors?

Any business or service that extends credit can use a collection agency to collect from late paying customers.

What collection tactic red flags should you look for to avoid scams?

A big red flag is if the person calling you will not divulge the name of the company they work for or the company phone number or address. Also, if they threaten you or you do not know what the bill is they are speaking about.

There are federal laws that regulate the collection industry, which prevents them from harassing customers. A reputable agency will follow these laws.

If you are in over your head financially, you should reach out and get help. One site that can help you is askdoctordebt.org. This site is great for financial advice and helping you get your finances back on track.

For the full discussion watch the segment from Fox 25 News in the video below:

On Friday, April 4th, The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals “ACA” was the sponsor of a two-minute consumer advice segment that aired on 210 Independent, CW and FOX stations from coast to coast. The segment, called The Daily Buzz, reached an estimated 77 million households in 156 media markets nationwide.

The segment goes over again, what consumers can do if they get a call from a collection agency.

To learn more about the segment click on the link below and watch the ACA sponsored segment of The Daily Buzz. There’s some great advice for consumers.

http://www.acainternational.org/images/14197/BuzzTalkSegment.mp4

When it comes to working with a collection agency they should always help and not hurt your business. A collection agency can be beneficial to any business, as long as you work with a reputable agency whose morals and ethics match yours.

A few things that could cause a collection agency to be a bad fit for your business are:

  • They do not match the ethics of your business
  • They are disrespectful to your customers
  • You are charged large fees
  • The agency takes a long time to resolve your accounts

So, what makes a good collection agency that will help and not hurt your business? Here are some things to look for:

  • Find a reputable agency that focuses on morals and ethics that match what your company believes
  • They will work with your customers diplomatically and with respect
  • They use a flat fee system as well as other cost effective solutions can save your business money
  • The agency will give you advice on internal procedures
  • They provide ease of use features (For example: APRwebSM is an APR technology that allows customers to add and manage their accounts 24/7)

There can be a lot of benefits to having your business work with a collection agency. Here at APR we work hard every day to help our clients and their businesses.

As long as you work with a reputable collection agency, such as American Profit Recovery, your chances of having your reputation damaged are far less.

For more advice on how a collection agency can help your business watch the video below:

Best Business Advisors

We talk to business owners every day from a variety of fields including contractors, lawn care and medical professionals, who are all busy trying to build their business. We know that running a business can be difficult but if you have the help of these four business advisors you will be ready for anything.

Business Attorney: They will provide vital assistance in every aspect of your business, from basic zoning compliance, copyright and trademark advice to formal business incorporation, lawsuits and liability.

CPA (Certified Public Accountant): Financial professionals who analyze how money is used by businesses, audit financial statements, serve as consultants for tax, accounting, and financial planning. CPA’s are strategic advisors, beneficial to any company looking to grow or increase their revenue.

PR/Marketing Consultant: This advisor will identify ways to bring in customers, critique copy and marketing material and identify and launch new product opportunities. They also may direct and manage your brand, which includes helping maintain your businesses social media pages.

Collection Agency: They will help your business by collecting your late accounts, allowing you to get paid quicker and save internal costs. They will also give your business advice on having a plan for late accounts and can advise your business on ways to save money.

As your business grows with the help of these advisors you won’t have time to worry about late accounts, so it’s important to work with a reputable collection agency, such as APR to help make a difference in your business.

For more advice on business advisors watch the video below:

I had a great opportunity recently to be a guest on an internet radio show that focuses on the green industry; one of our specialties. Lawncare and landscaping professionals work very hard to build and maintain their businesses. If you’re one of them I’m not telling you anything new.

We work with countless professionals in this industry and one part of their business that really puts a damper on growth is their accounts receivables.

On landscape Live talk Radio, I had a great chance to go over what a landscaping or lawncare professional can do to overcome some of these challenges in getting paid on time. I offer some solid advice on how to diplomatically collect on overdue customers and even how to keep those customers after the collection process.

Take some time to listen to the show here:

And if you’re one of these professionals that struggle with your accounts receivables, we’d love then chance to show you how we can help. Just give us a call.

The information available on this web site is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain legal advice.



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