Credit

Debt Collection Ethics 101

Almost everyone who has been in debt has received the dreaded phone call from a collections agency. But sometimes one phone call turns into twenty, and even worse, an agent may be aggressive and threatening on the phone.

Almost everyone who has been in debt has received the dreaded phone call from a collections agency. But sometimes one phone call turns into twenty, and even worse, an agent may be aggressive and threatening on the phone.

While it may be true that collections agents are trying to collect a legitimate debt, more and more negative attention is being focused on unfair and aggressive policies that some companies have been using.

Some of the more aggressive practices caught the eyes of James Caldwell, Louisiana attorney general and Washington attorney general Ron McKenna who have both promised to make accounts receivable management firms and their owners clean up after their acts.

In fact, Caldwell has already obtained injunctions on January 8th against two collection companies that weren’t complying with the standards that have been set for obtaining debt.

On the same day McKenna attested that his office had just come to an agreement with a collection agency that agreed to comply with new protocol that have been established.

Some of the new boundaries that these collection agencies must comply with include more effective communication. This means that any harassment, intimidation, threats, profanity, or attempts to embarrass the debtor are now out of the question.

With these new settlements, these collection agencies under scrutiny will no longer be able to intimidate debtors through implications such as failing to pay a debt will result in a suspension of the debtor’s driver’s license.

Finally, although these collection companies are lawfully able to report debts to credit reporting agencies, they are no longer allowed to threaten debtors with impairment of their credit rating.

Although collections companies are justifiably trying to collect a legitimate debt, there are two issues to think about. People who owe money are just that, people, who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. More importantly, if a debtor is frightened of an aggressive collections agent who calls them constantly they very well may just stop picking up the calls, leaving themselves in debt, and the collection agencies with nothing.

Mallory Megan is employed by a debt collection agency. She also writes stories on business and finance, consumer spending and collection agencies.