Debt Collection Agencies don’t make headlines that often, but when they do, it can be shocking! Here’s one scary example: “Debt Collector Sets Up Fake Courtroom to Collect Debts.”
Such headlines give the debt collection industry a bad reputation and might even make a business owner question whether to use them. You’re right to be wary! After all, the debt collection agency you use can reflect back on your own company in the minds of consumers.
But your bottom line can really suffer if you don’t collect. So what do you do? Choose a debt collection agency that will represent you ethically and professionally while still getting results! There are over 6,000 agencies in the U.S., though, so how do you go about evaluating and choosing a debt collection agency? Start with our handy debt collection agency checklist.
A Debt Collection Agency Checklist
- Check Their Reputation
A little research into the background and stability of your debt collection agency can go a long way. Start with a general Internet search on the company name. Press releases, promotions, and awards are good signs that a company is thriving. Check for high ratings, strong financials, and experience in the industry. References and testimonials can provide insight into what a working relationship would be like. Negative results aren’t conclusive, but they should flag you to conduct more research.
Check out the debt collection agency’s site, too. Do they provide information about their company and history readily, or do you have to really dig to find out something? Do they have client testimonials? Do they have value and mission statements that resonate with your own? They should!
- Check for Associations & Affiliations
It’s a good sign if your debt collection agency is an active member of voluntary associations and affiliations. Membership in the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA), and other professional associations and affiliations indicate that your Debt Collection Agency cares about their reputation. Members of the ACA, for example, agree to comply with all federal and state laws and regulations and the ethical standards and guidelines of the association. Since they also provide ongoing training and education and keep members abreast on regulatory issues pertinent to the industry, membership in the ACA can be a great indicator that your debt collection agency actively seeks to live up to their published values.
- Check for Training
Okay, you’ve done your search. The results were positive, professional, and no red flags remain. The debt collection agency is a member of professional associations and their values and mission align to yours.
It’s time to talk to the agency. Ask what sets them apart from other agencies, and listen carefully to their response. Did they say anything about training? Debt collection is a highly regulated industry (scary headlines are good indicators of why), so debt collectors need to be well trained to ensure compliance with HIPAA, FDCPA and FCRA. Oh, and let’s not forget why you’re looking into a debt collection agency to start with — trained employees are more efficient and their retention rate is higher, which means better recovery results and better bottom-line results for your business.
There’s a lot to consider when selecting a debt collection agency. The 3 things we’ve checked here are a great start, but if you’d like more, check out our White Paper: Choosing a Collection Agency (PDF), or the ACA’s guide. Look us up, too – we’re confident your research into what makes a good debt collection agency will give you a great feeling about working with Optio Solutions!