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ACA Adopts New Code of Ethics for Collection Industry
Posted by on
July 26, 2007

ACA Adopts New Code of Ethics for Collection Industry

In advance of the organization's annual convention, ACA International approved an updated and expanded Code of Ethics for collection agencies in the U.S. Notably, the ACA proposes the addition of a specific point-person to deal with consumer complaint in each individual agency.

The board of directors for ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, (ACA) Wednesday unanimously approved an enhanced association code of ethics. The vote occurred during the Annual ACA Board Meeting, held in conjunction with the association’s 68th Annual Convention & Exposition, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago hotel, Chicago.

ACA’s 5,500 members representing 125,000 professionals in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries worldwide, will now be held to higher standards of conduct as they provide a vital economic impact. Under the significantly modified code, the industry has committed to several provisions that balance the needs of the public with the responsibilities of ethical credit and collection professionals.

Key provisions of the code include:

* Requiring members to designate a contact
person at each member company to resolve
consumer complaints.
* Requiring members to make efforts to
resolve consumer complaints.
* Clarifying the responsibilities of the
collector when consumers request
information about their debt.
* Forbidding litigation on time-barred debts.
* Clarifying the need for members to obtain
accurate and complete information about
any accounts being purchased.
* Adopting reasonable procedures for
investigating claims of identity theft.

“Today’s decision is a milestone for ACA and the millions of creditor businesses we serve,” said ACA President Michael Shoop. “It’s the latest example of our strong commitment to professionalism and fair practices. ACA supported passage of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in 1977, fought to bring collection attorneys within the confines of the law in 1986, and earlier this year introduced guidelines to help collectors and purchasers of health care debt align their practices with the care-driven mission of their health care provider clients. The updated code of ethics strengthens our platform of balancing consumers’ rights and collectors’ responsibilities.”

ACA chief executive Gary Rippentrop added the code of ethics will help creditors select an agent that will represent them professionally. “We stand firm in our belief that those who collect debt ethically and respectfully should not be placed at a competitive disadvantage to the few who don’t. ACA encourages all businesses and organizations that retain collection agencies to seriously evaluate potential firms based on this code of conduct.”

How ACA’s new Code of Ethics promotes the interests of consumers

Complaint Resolution Officer: ACA is negotiating additional “teeth” to the code of ethics as a meaningful alternative for consumers to resolve complaints. The first step in the process is accomplished by mandating all ACA member companies designate an officer with sufficient authority to handle consumer complaints. Companies will provide an updated contact each year as a part of their membership renewal.

Verification: Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a consumer has 30 days to request, in writing, debt verification from a third-party collector. Upon receipt of such a request, all collection activity must cease until the collector provides the consumer with documentation the debt is owed. The new code extends indefinitely the consumer’s right to request verification in writing.

Additionally, the law does not require the collector to take any further action if it closes an account it cannot verify. Many consumers are left ill at ease when they hear nothing back regarding their verification request. With the new code, ACA seeks to add a step to the debt verification process requiring collectors to provide consumers notice that collection activity has ceased. This provision was added to the code in the interests of consumers, but lest such notice be interpreted as a violation of the FDCPA’s “cease communication” rule, the provision will only become effective upon ACA’s receipt of a formal advisory opinion from the Federal Trade Commission addressing a collector’s ability to provide this notice.

The new code also requires collectors to indicate, when the account is closed and returned to the creditor, that the reason for closure was the collector’s inability to verify the debt. This should allow the creditor or debt buyer to prevent the account from being sold or reassigned.

Time-Barred Debt: The statutes of limitation on consumer debts vary widely from state to state but are generally, four to ten years. ACA members consider the filing of a lawsuit on a time-barred debt to be an abusive practice and commit to use legal collection remedies only when appropriate to satisfy a debt.

Chain of Title: Creditors increasingly opt to sell non-performing debts to buyers to improve cash flow and recovery. Selling debt is an important tool for managing receivables. To curtail the reassignment or resale of disputed debts and to prevent wrong-party contacts, ACA encourages debt buyers to obtain supporting documents and establish the chain of title for any accounts they purchase.

Identity Theft: ACA members seek to communicate with only those consumers who are legally obligated to pay their past-due debts. Wrong-party contacts and victims of identity theft need protection from unwarranted collection activity. To that end, the enhanced code requires members of ACA to conduct a reasonable investigation to determine the validity of the debt and the identity of the obliger when claims of identity theft are communicated by the consumer.

While the FDCPA’s consumer protections apply only within the United States, ACA extends the Act and its more stringent code of ethics to all 5,500 members worldwide.

A task force of ACA members appointed by the association’s executive officers drafted the new code. ACA published the draft for a month-long comment period following which the association incorporated public feedback on the proposed changes.

By adopting the new standards, ACA members have publicly embraced self regulation, taken meaningful steps to preserve and foster the vitality of the industry and, most important, have set themselves apart as professionals committed to treating all consumers with dignity and respect.

The complete ACA Code of Ethics document can be accessed on-line at

....Inside A.R.M.
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DebtorBasher on 07/26/2007:
This is good news for debtors AND it will separate the good agencies from the bad.
ejack053824 on 07/26/2007:
Basher....other 3rd party debt collectors won't follow those codes and you know it. Just something to make the debtor feel warm all over while the collector pisses down their back and tells them its raining.

Still love you though sweetie! :)
Anonymous on 07/26/2007:
DB, there is no way to separate good agencies from bad when all of them are BAD!
DebtorBasher on 07/26/2007:
Liddy..that is no way to move your way up in my stop breaking it all the time.
DebtorBasher on 07/26/2007:
Thank you stated, companies are going to want to hire the agencies that follow the rules...
Anonymous on 07/26/2007:
Very informative, I rated it very helpful!
DebtorBasher on 07/26/2007:
Thank you're #1.5 in my heart!
ejack053824 on 07/26/2007:
No debt collection agency follows the rules...cmon!
DebtorBasher on 07/26/2007:
MY NCO always did!
ejack053824 on 07/27/2007:
LMAO BASHER!! Right and I have some wonderful property, sponsored by Erik Estrada, to sell you at Tellico Village.
DebtorBasher on 07/27/2007:
HEY! Don't give the Basher the 'tude!
Anonymous on 07/27/2007:
Why DB, he is right.
DebtorBasher on 07/27/2007:
EJ is only right when he agrees with me.
ejack053824 on 07/27/2007:
Basher if you act today....Tellico Village will fly you and a guest free to view their luxurious properties. Act now as spaces are being sold on a first come first serve basis!! LMAO!!
ejack053824 on 07/27/2007:
Lidman she won't admit it....she's a airhead woman for christ sakes! LMAO!!
DebtorBasher on 07/30/2007:
You guys couldn't survive without me!
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FCC: Collectors May Call Cell Phones with Autodialers, Prerecorded Messages
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FCC: Collectors May Call Cell Phones with Autodialers, Prerecorded Messages
January 7, 2008

A ruling released by the FCC late Friday allows debt collectors to use predictive auto-dialers and prerecorded messages in calls placed to consumer mobile phones.

Collectors may use predictive auto-dialers and prerecorded calls to contact consumers on their mobile phones, the Federal Communications Commission announced in a ruling handed down late Friday.

Prior to this ruling, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) had generally prohibited auto-dialer and prerecorded calls to a mobile phone unless there was prior consent by the consumer. The ruling goes into effect immediately and applies to collectors, debt purchasers, and creditors, according to collection industry trade group ACA International.

The decision is being viewed as a victory for collectors and the ACA as more consumers move to wireless-only communication. “This is wonderful news. The TCPA was instituted when there were about 50 cell phones in the country,” said Gary E. Wood, president of Collins Financial Services Inc. and debt purchasing trade association DBA International.

“This ends a tremendous amount of litigation over auto-dialer prohibition,” said Rozanne M. Andersen, executive vice president and general counsel at ACA. But Andersen cautioned, “This is not a 100 percent win, there are some remaining questions. But we are analyzing the ruling and providing members with details to ensure they abide by the ruling.”

Indeed, an attorney with a consumer rights organization noted that the creditor, debt purchaser and collector still have the burden of holding, or having access to, a record of the debtor’s proof of permission.

And keep in mind that “cell phone numbers turn over quickly. (An agency) may call the wrong person,” said Lauren K. Saunders, managing attorney of the National Consumer Law Center. “They need to ensure the number is still good for the right person.”

In addition, the FCC ruling applies only to the TCPA, not the FDCPA, and a collector could mistakenly violate one of its provisions if he isn’t careful, she said. “There are a lot of landmines that collectors could step on if they use this for broad-based permission,” said Saunders.

In the ruling, reached on Dec. 28, the FCC determined that autodialed and prerecorded calls made to wireless numbers provided by the called party in connection with an existing debt are made with the “express prior consent” by the called party.

ACA filed a petition with the FCC in October 2005 seeking clarification that the prohibition against autodialed or prerecorded calls to wireless telephone numbers did not apply to collection calls. The FCC ruling was a direct response to the ACA petition.

At issue was the “express prior consent” clause in the TCPA governing the use of wireless numbers. Due to the fee applied to users for incoming mobile calls, the TCPA had been previously interpreted as not granting consent for automated calls.

Providing a creditor with a cell phone number during a credit application “reasonably evidences prior express consent by the cell phone subscriber to be contacted at that number regarding the debt,” the FCC wrote. Collectors may also use the mobile numbers if a consumer gives the number as an alternate contact.

Debt collectors have always been able to use predictive auto-dialers and rerecorded messages to reach traditional wire line numbers, and collectors have also been able to manually dial wireless numbers to reach consumers. But the combination of using those advanced call center technologies on wireless numbers was interpreted as forbidden under the TCPA.

In 2003, the FCC banned the use of auto-dialers and prerecorded messages for calls of any kind made to wireless numbers. The Commission was responding to what it called a “greater nuisance and invasion of privacy than live solicitation calls” in using wireless numbers which were gaining popularity. The fact that consumers were charged for the incoming calls punctuated the FCC’s finding.

Information as Reported in insideARM
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DebtorBasher on 01/07/2008:
Make note: FCC ruling applies only to the TCPA, not the FDCPA!
Principissa on 01/07/2008:
So what about people like us, who don't have collections and we get calls? Do we treat it the same way as if they were calling our home phone? Can we call the wireless providers and request not to have these calls? If per se the number called is wrong and they keep calling this can lead to huge overages for people, and that is not fair to those of us that pay our bills.
DebtorBasher on 01/07/2008: would still have the protection of the FDCPA...if they continue to call you once you tell them it's the wrong number, that can be a case of harassment under the FDCPA.
DebtorBasher on 01/07/2008:
I don't think it's going to be that big of an advantage to the collectors because people can change their cellphone numbers without having to pay, as you do a landline. So, Debtors will just keep changing their number as the collectors locate them. I wonder if people can requested a phone number that has not been previously used.
Principissa on 01/07/2008:
I wonder that too. I've had the same number for 3 years so it's doubtful they will call me. I just want to make sure I'm protected if they do.
DebtorBasher on 01/07/2008:
Yeah...the FDCPA will always protect people from the violators...but it can still be a pain in the butt.
Principissa on 01/08/2008:
You are so right on that! We had that happen to us when we lived in Virginia Beach, we had to get a JAG attorney on them to leave us alone. Apparently the person who had our old phone number didn't feel like he needed to pay his bills. So the agencies that he owed money would call us day and night sometimes 3 times a day. One guy flat out called me a liar and told me if he had a dollar for every time he heard that he wouldn't need his job anymore. I can't even imagine what calls like that will due to someone's cell phone bill.
Nohandle on 01/08/2008:
I am so excited. If I read this correctly I can expect even more calls for James. Only now not a human but a recording. I suppose I can elect to press 1 for a human if I'd like to chat. And it was so enjoyable telling those folks time and time again that James was not around my home nor had he ever been. Since you are in the know DB, I might just provide you with James' last name as well and I will enjoy personally having him beaten to a pulp for running bills up all over the countryside and then changing cellphone numbers. Forget that, we'll just be calling my number.
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Debt Collection Agencies = Debt Collection Agents
Posted by on
For every debt collector whom I have spoken to over the phone seems to take a personal interest in why I can't pay, or just gets mad when I can't pay right then. I do not think they should get bonuses for getting a consumer to pay over the phone, nor should any reward be given. At times I sense that if they can lock in a date & over the phone payment then they are more nice, but if I can not pay over the phone (most) of them give me attitude. I am understanding in the aspects of we are all humane no one is perfect I know every job has its bad customers who try to lie, cheat or steal (get things for free). Why should debt collectors be able to get online and gripe about the people who won't pay the money they owe?
Shouldn't they get to know the people & understand every financial end before saying nasty things about ALL people who owe money. I have learned that playing fair and trying to pay bills on time the way they want it won't always work out the way I need it to. So I am doing the next best thing & sending my payments in by mail, or setting up payments that day if I know the money is in my bank account. I don't judge every debt collection agent by the way the last one treated me, but I sure do learn what can happen & what to do when I'm degraded by one. This has got to stop at some point for real if everyone worried about taking care of their own business and doing a job they get paid to do, right. Maybe more things would get fixed faster & easier but embarrassing someone is never the answer. And NEVER back anyone up in a corner because at that point you make them feel stuck, & not even try. Shouldn't collection agencies be teaching agents that if we can really try helping a consumer pay off this debt than we will get paid as well! And yes, I am sorry for all agents who deal with deadbeats daily remember they might have had too many bad experiences in the past. Not everyone will be nice or honest but cut the real guys some slack PLEASE!! Remember without ppl who owe money there wouldn't be a need for debt collection agents at all.
Guess that's all for now, tks
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Anonymous on 03/15/2010:
There is no amount of money I could be offered to be a debt collector. Some bill collectors are vicious and unreasonable, but many are hard working folks who are subjected to the lowest forms of human behavior by people who don't think they have to pay what they owe. They are doing their job by calling delinquent payers. The solution here is to live within your means, get a second job, and pay what you knowingly charged.
Anonymous on 03/15/2010:
Collectors are just trying to make a buck. In reality they're nothing more than salesmen trying to sell you on the idea of giving them money. Like all salesmen they lack any real power other than the power the person on the receiving end gives them. They will use any tactic to close a deal. Its the nature of the 'salesmen' beast. The difference with collectors over other salesmen is the false mortality and false shame injected by society into what should be a purely business dealing. There is no shame or morality when it comes to business. There's just cold hard cash.

When a collector calls don't get emotional. If you feel your adrenalin surge and your blood pressure rise simply tell the collector that you do not care to discuss the issue right now then end the phone call. Never talk business when you're not in a 'business' frame of mind.

If a collector is being rude, hostile or insulting then simply tell the collector that his/her behavior will not be tolerated and then end the call.

If you don't have a good grasp on what you want to do or the best course of action for you to take then tell the collector that you're not in a position to discuss this matter at this time then end the call.

If you're just not in the mood to talk business when they call tell them as much and then end the call.

You have the power to end the call at anytime and for any reason whatsoever. Don't ever be hesitant to exercise that power.

If you do find yourself in collections then the first thing you need to do is come up with a realistic business plan for dealing with the situation. Answer these questions. Do I feel confident the collector has legal claim to collect this debt? Do you dispute the amount claimed? Do you plan on paying? Are you fishing for a reduced settlement? Are you wanting to enter into a payment plan? How much are you willing to pay a month? How much in a lump sum payment?

Answer those questions then act accordingly. Until a judge/court intervenes the debtor has all the power in collections. That's a powerful advantage that can be used very effectively to the debtor's advantage if the debtor exercises calm assertiveness and reasonable expectations.

Again it's not personal it's just business. I wish you well!
Slimjim on 03/15/2010:
Do you know how hard it is to collect money from people who have made a conscious decision not to pay for whatever reasoning? That's why collectors usually are bottom feeder types who will push the envelope to get a payment. No collector is going to get anywhere with honey, that's just the facts.
People's attitude with debt is just like employment right now. Half the people can't find work, the other half won't even look. Same with paying their debt. All those who feasibly can't are matched by those who just plain won't.
Anonymous on 03/15/2010:
When I worked in collections we were required to ask why someone wasn't able to pay their bill that way we could offer advice or suggestions. As far as the bonuses collectors get, that is an extra incentive to not quit. Collections is a hard job. You get yelled at, cussed out, hung up on, threatened, all on a daily basis. I lasted a year in collections. I might have quit a lot sooner if I wasn't making such good money. Remember that collectors are people too. They have bills to pay just like you do. Pay your bills on tinme and you won't have to worry about getting a call from a collector
madconsumer on 03/15/2010:
great review, very helpful!!
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What a collector can see
Posted by on
Someone asked on a post a while ago what a collector can see on their screen. My post was a little late and the info was buried. So I am posting this as a new entry. I work on a pre-charge off collection for a credit card company.

I can see the: cardholder's name, address, phone number, place of employment (if given), their SSN, their balance (including how far they are over the credit limit, how much it would take to get the account out of collections), the date the card was opened, date of last payment, date of last purchase and cash advance. That is on the main screen. I can also pull one of 3 credit bureaus (Experian, Transunion or Equifax) as needed.

Those are purely the basics of what I can see. Different companies might have different information
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MRM on 10/11/2007:
Good info, "warddw."
DebtorBasher on 10/11/2007:
Thanks Warddw...I know the original post you were talking about...but it's good to get this info out front, because like you said, things get buried fast.
Nohandle on 10/11/2007:
I was one of those who asked a question on the review you were speaking of. You stated you are in the pre-charge off collection department for a credit card company. Obviously you aren’t given the previous contact attempts/reasons the debtor gave for non payment of the bill you are calling about. It appears you are starting from scratch. I know you wouldn't have time to read through the entire history on each debtor, but it might expedite your final decision. Good information. Thanks.
jktshff1 on 10/11/2007:
good post
Anonymous on 10/11/2007:
Interesting. Thanks for the information.
DebtorBasher on 10/16/2007:
Congrates on making the M3C Newsletter!
Anonymous on 10/16/2007:
Good post. Now I know why socialism is running a muck in this country, no privacy.

Congrates on making the M3C Newsletter also.
dt66 on 10/17/2007:
It don't matter how much you make ,a computer cheches your credit so why do they want to know??
Anonymous17 on 11/17/2007:
Hello, for the past 4 years various collection agencies keep calling my phone number. They are looking for a Karen Davidson. I am not Karen Davidson and never have been. I have moved addresses and still the calls. I am assuming it is costing the collection agencies money to call the wrong number and would like to get this fixed. Does anyone know how I can get the source of the bad data updated?

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Take Back Your Phone Day / January 31st.
Posted by on
Consumer Group Touts 'Take Back Your Phone Day' Against Collectors

A debt couseling firm has declared January 31st "Take Back Your Phone Day" in direct reference to collection calls. We here at recommend reading the following with a salt lick rather than the proverbial grain of salt.
January 25, 2007
Following in the proud tradition of "Take Back the Night" comes "Take Back Your Phone Day." Because nothing's better than a self-righteous uninformed debtor with a cause and a sense of entitlement. We here at recommend reading the following with a salt lick rather than the proverbial grain of salt.

With almost 20 percent of the FTC's (Federal Trade Commission) consumer complaints directed at collection agencies, Franklin Debt Relief CEO Robert Zangrilli has declared January 31st "Take Back Your Phone Day" for consumers getting harassed by collections agencies. Franklin Debt Relief is offering free advice and form letters for consumers getting unfairly harassed by debt collectors. Zangrilli came up with the idea after helping his father to combat nasty collections calls targeting his daughter, who is currently disabled and past due on bills.

"They called and my Dad explained the situation and even mentioned that my sister no longer lives at that address. Still the calls and insults persisted. Finally I faxed the collections agency a letter demanding that they cease communication on behalf of my Father and sister, which has stopped the calls, but I'm informed about the laws because of the industry I'm in. For consumers who are not aware of the laws, they endure daily harassing phone calls for no reason. Most people want to pay their bills and are forced to fall behind due to unforeseen financial hardship like unemployment or medical issues, as is the case with my sister. In other cases, debt collectors are hounding consumers for debts they don't even owe."

In addition to the numerous complaints filed with the FTC, the collections industry typically ranks in the top ten for consumer complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Fortunately for consumers, the debt collection industry is bound by a set of strict federal regulations under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) that dictates what they can and cannot do when pursuing a past due debt. One downside, however, is most consumers do not have the slightest idea what exactly the law restricts, which debt collectors used to their advantage to employ actions that are either illegal or can be easily combated by taking appropriate action. One of the most common examples of debt collectors overstepping their bounds are phone calls at work after a consumer has already told them that any phone calls may jeopardize their employment.

According to Zangrilli, a consumer can easily get any calls to stop by sending a written request to your debt collectors that all communications cease and desist. He goes on to warn against this tactic, however, since it may lead to more aggressive collection efforts like sending the account to a lawyer. A better option may be to find a third party to help resolve your account. "Once debt collectors are informed that a consumer has appointed a third party like an attorney or debt negotiator ( to handle the account, they are legally obligated to contact the third party instead of the consumer."

The final piece of advice Zangrilli offers is to remember that debt collectors, despite any attempts to prove otherwise, are not federal marshals, and they are far from being arbiters on your morality, your success as a parent, or whatever other aspect of your personality that they choose to attack in hopes of getting full payment. For the most part, their compensation is based on what they collect, which means they have every incentive in the world to make you feel guilty or insulted if it increases the likelihood that you will pay back the debt. Don't take it personally.

Franklin Debt Relief is a leading debt counseling firm located in Chicago, IL. FDR's "New Deal" program uses debt settlement and debt negotiation to lower the debt burdens of consumers in a state of financial hardship. Visit or call (877) 274-1260 if you would like free information about how to best combat collections calls.

Information from: (Previously

DebtorBasher is not advertising / promoting Franklin Debt Relief or FDR's "New Deal" program...I'm simply passing info onto others who may benefit from the information.
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Anonymous on 01/25/2007:
Good review!
Caliope on 01/25/2007:
Thanks Debtor that is good info!
Anonymous on 01/25/2007:
Yeah thanks DB I got one of them I am going to cal about. Its this girl collector her name is like Deto, Deter maybe Debtor Jane Basher or maybe GI Basher? Idin't remember but this is real good information.
DebtorBasher on 01/26/2007:
Skye on 01/26/2007:
Great review. And that's my wedding anniversary :D
Slimjim on 01/26/2007:
Since Franklin Debt Relief isn't exactly Consumer Credit Counseling Services, looks like they came up with a little publicity idea to get themselves some exposure. Hey it's good advice so bully for them.
voiceoff on 03/19/2007:
Some collectors use automatic message machines to call people several times a day, leaving an annoying message just to harass them. It is way out of hand.
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The collectors Script
Posted by on
Found this article - Jim Finucan is an collection industry insider that is selling a book online for a tidy sum per copy, with gems like the excerpt below in it;

The script below is what an ideal collections call SHOULD entail. While it's condescending and arrogant…it's good to have an idea of what those pesky collectors are getting at. Most collectors tend to stray from the script and wing it after a few roadblocks. That's where the violations start building up. Since Jim spent so much time and energy compiling his information, and so many of the people who are supposed to follow his lead aren't doing so, I figured it's your jobs as consumers to weed out those that can't follow the guidelines he's outlined. Now…this is actually pertaining to a commercial collections call to a small business…but if you've ever been contacted by a collector…you've heard similar things before they got nasty.

It's a question from a collector to Jim Finucan (Say his name out loud several times quickly…JiM-Finuken - JIMFINUKEN! JIM-FI-NUKEN!!! It sounds like what the main bad-ass in a kung-fu movie might scream right before he cuts a shogun's head off….AYE-YAAA-JIMFINUKEN! (splat) Moving right along after that immaturity.

Jim: How can I be sure that I've gotten to the heart of the problem when I suspect the debtor is being insincere, or even dishonest?

A) Use a technique called ""funneling." It's a method of questioning that begins on a broad level and becomes more specific as you progress. Narrow in and focus on the response you're getting until your suspicions are either confirmed or you can accept the debtor's excuses as genuine.

HERE'S MY FIRST INTERRUPTION: How many collectors that are just shown their desk/phone and told to 'start collecting' could even read that sentence? Now…from that number - how many can actually cognitively grasp this concept. From that number - how many can actually do it? It's harder than one might think. That's why they have scripts - see below.

Jim goes on to write:

A typical conversation might go something like this:

"Is there anything preventing you from sending the check for the balance tomorrow?"

"I can't send it tomorrow; I won't be in the office."

"That's hardly a problem; you could mail it out tonight, before you leave. Do you agree?" (WWMES -

"I told you, I just can't."

"You mean, I provide the services to you when you need them and you're the kind of person who won't pay because you don't have the time? Is that right?

"No, it's not like that."

"Then you need to tell me now what it is like. What is it, that's stopping you from taking care of this obligation and leaving yourself exposed to legal action?"

"The company just doesn't have the funds available."

"All right, Tom," (Note that the story is changing here. This reason is either more accurate or another stall tactic.) "What I need you to understand is that excuse doesn't concern me one way or the other. When your company needs funds to continue operating what do you do? That check needs to be in the mail by tomorrow at the latest."

And regardless of his answer, find out which bills are being paid and which ones are not - and why yours is one of those not on the "pay" list.

Funneling down into an excuse with a more precise line of questioning uncovers the true intentions of a debtor. In fact, this technique actually helps the debtor see himself acting in a way that is not congruent with his own beliefs. That exposure will help him make more honest and forthright decisions in the future.

If something doesn't feel right during a collections call question it! Throw a whole series of sharp, penetrating questions at it until it cracks. Then both sides can identify and solve the sense of the problem.

Just thought everyone would like to see an example of what the collectors are told to be do on the phone. In most regards, this is a pretty good technique. Make sure you don't talk yourself into a corner - keep your answers focused on getting a CA to validate. Don't give out any personal info. Don't offer any info. Most new, and/or bad collectors tend to get flustered when YOU don't follow THEIR script. They're expecting excuses. Don’t give them any. Go on the offensive and make them answer your questions. Your business isn't their business until they prove it is…which most times they cannot. They ask you to reveal personal info that could be used to defraud you - despite your past pitfalls with credit, and finances, you aren't required to offer up info to CA's that, in the wrong hands, could screw up your situation even more. That's all it comes down to. You need your money more than they do. Utilities, food, Mortgages/Rent - all of these things always take priority over whatever the CA is asking for. When you're in a position to do so, you can choose work with a CA - IF they can prove you owe them money; it's not dishonest…it's common sense.
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DebtorBasher on 09/22/2005:
I like this script better...PAY YOUR BILL DEADBEAT! (running with my hands covering my butt)
ejack053824 on 09/23/2005:
"Is there anything preventing you from sending the check for the balance tomorrow?"

Me: Yeah! Prove that I made the bill azzhole!

"You mean, I provide the services to you when you need them and you're the kind of person who won't pay because you don't have the time? Is that right?

Me: Wrong Moron! When you prove its my debt then I will pay it...until that time wish in one hand and shyt in the other and see which one fills up quicker!

"That's hardly a problem; you could mail it out tonight, before you leave. Do you agree?"

Me: Do you have shyt in your ears Jim?! What did I just say? Prove it's my bill!
ejack053824 on 09/23/2005:
"Then you need to tell me now what it is like. What is it, that's stopping you from taking care of this obligation and leaving yourself exposed to legal action?"

Me: Until you prove its my bill you can kiss my ass! That's what's stopping me from take care of this bogus obligation. Threaten me all you want Jim...I need a good laugh.
DebtorBasher on 09/23/2005:
EJ: Stop paying your bills, so I can call you...we can have some good fun together...
Mad Eye Moody on 09/23/2005:
Unicorn. What is a professional debtor? I've never met one. Could it be someone who happens to know more about the collection rep who is calling than the collection rep is comfortable with? It's not a crime to educate oneself regarding the ins and outs of the industry in order to even the playing field. A big part of their success is that the people they call and strong-arm into paying (who may very well owe money - but how much?) aren't aware that they have the right to make sure that they pay only what they owe. Collectors get mad because a consumer asks them to prove that the amount is accurate. Boy...what a bunch of deadbeats. Say I go to a restaurant order a burger and the bill shows up and it's for $100.00 bucks. Now I know that there's no way a pizza costs 100.00 dollars. The guy then offers to
Mad Eye Moody on 09/23/2005:
(TAKE OUT PIZZA - insert burger...I hit post by accident. OOPS!)
Moving right along - the guy offers to settle my tab for 70.00 dollars. I still think that there's something wrong with was just a burger...but the waiter...he won't tell my why my burger costs 100.00...(or now 70.00 since I've said something). Then say I ask to see a manager, and the waiter brings over another waiter, and says - "Here's my manager". I say..." can this burger cost 100.00 dollars". The so- called 'manager' says. " ate the burger, now pay us." All we want consumers to do is pay off their debts...but only what they owe. The collection industry makes a ton of money - and it ain't because they validate debts. The ratio of people who are intimidated into paying to people who demand validation and are thusly passed off to a different CA is very lopsided. Those that pay...they're the ones that drive that bottom line, and the CI doesn't want to waste time with those consumers that know their game. That's why they're hostile towards educated consumers and sites where they get that education.
Mad Eye Moody on 09/23/2005:
P.S. - you always know you've got one disgusted when you see that gem "Just pay your bills". When that's all they have to fall back on, you can bet a valid point has been made somewhere. Essentially..."Just pay your bills" means..."Just don't make me do my job"
DebtorBasher on 09/23/2005: of the first things we are trained about ...AFTER the FDCPA training, is how to spot a "Professional Debtor". These are people who's accounts show obvious "check kiting", people who have a history of excuses, just to get out of paying bills, etc...these are NOT the people who have been a victim of fraud, misapplied payments, or fallen into a financial, yes, there is such a thing as a Professional Debtor...EJack is a borderline "PD" when he states that he would let a bill go on purpose, and wait for a collection agency to call, and try to trap them into a violation so he can sue and make money...these are professional debtors.
UnIcOrN_LoVeR on 09/23/2005:
Moody: Go work in the billing department at any major company. Trust me, you'll meet plenty of professional debtors. I've seen people try to keep their accounts current by repeatedly sending in bad checks, making credit cards payments and then making fraud claims with their credit card companies, and starting up accounts in their children's names and then skip out on payments on those also. Trust me, this country is chock full of professional debtors.
ejack053824 on 09/23/2005:
Basher how would you collect from me if I owed? LOL!
DebtorBasher on 09/23/2005:
Well...if blackmail doesn't work...I'd have to turn on my charm. Guys are fools for a sexy voice on the phone!
ejack053824 on 09/24/2005:
I will send my check right away Basher! LOL!!
DebtorBasher on 09/24/2005:
Ya see what I mean? You didn't even THINK about asking for proof of the're just ready to pay it! LOL
Mad Eye Moody on 09/26/2005:
Basher's crooning voice aside - I'd like to see anyone try to strong arm Ejack. LOL. Seriously - the CA's get to know certain debtors. Basher - didn't NCO have little notes on certain accounts that said something along the lines of "Handle with Care" for the debtors that have been known to suck rookie collectors into violations/OOC settlements?
DebtorBasher on 09/26/2005:
Not on any accounts I've ever seen! Strong arm EJ? hmmph all I have to do is say his name and his knees start to clank together in fear.
Mad Eye Moody on 09/27/2005:
So you've given up on me, then eh? A wise decision...very wise.
DebtorBasher on 09/27/2005:
I didn't give up on's just that you agree to everything I say, so there is no need for force on my part...Let's just say you've learned your lesson a lot quicker than EJ.
ejack053824 on 09/30/2005:
Basher as soon as you service my account...then you get payment! LOL! Any other collector...roll the dice and take your chances with me. A rookie collector would be talking to himself after he got off the phone with me.
DebtorBasher on 10/01/2005:
See that? Mission accomplished!
DebtorBasher on 10/01/2005:
EJ: I would only accept a check by phone...I know where your fingers have been lately, and I'm not touching anything you send in the mail!
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Collectors Seek to Modernize Do Not Call Update
Posted by on
November 27, 2007

Collectors Seek to Modernize Do Not Call Update

The collection industry is seeking to use current legislation concerning the Do Not Call list to lift a restriction that is outdated due to current technology: using predictive dialers to call cell phones.

As legislation in the House and the Senate seek to make the Do Not Call list permanent, ACA International of Minneapolis, Minn., is seeking to add an amendment to one of the pending bills to enable bill collectors to use predictive dialers to call cell phones.

Under current law, predictive dialers can be used to call land lines, but not cell phones, explains Rozanne Andersen, ACA International executive vice president and general counsel. While it makes sense for firms to be forbidden from making typical telemarketing calls to cell phones because the recipient has to pay to receive the calls, collectors should be able to use the technology because they are trying to recover a payment obligation from the call recipient, Andersen explained.

The Do Not Call list went into effect in June of 2003, with re-registration needed in June 2008. Collectors are exempt because they’re collecting on an obligation rather than trying to sell additional products and services. ACA officials see the same premise as a basis for the hoped-for amendment.

“The legislation needs to keep up with the technology,” Anderson said. “Some people have gotten rid of their land lines entirely and use only their cell phones.”

The easiest way to get such rules enacted would be to include them as an amendment to one of the existing bills (two in the House, two in the Senate) seeking to change the Do Not Call registry from a list that consumers must re-register for every five years to a permanent list, according to Jacob Heilman, ACA director of federal legislative affairs.

However, initial attempts to do so have been rebuffed by legislators who say the proposed amendment “isn’t germane” to the pending legislation, according to Heilman. While unrelated amendments get attached to bills all the time, legislators want to keep the pending legislation “clean” because it’s a popular issue.

No one wants to be seen as voting against it, so they don’t want an amendment that might cloud the issue, according to Heilman, who adds that it would be much more difficult to get the predictive dialer issue addressed in stand-alone legislation.

by Phil Britt

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DebtorBasher on 11/27/2007:
...Yes, I agree with's about time they've step up...the FDCPA does not allow phone calls that will cause charges to the debtor. At that time, they were concerened about collect calls, though it never specified it. While working at NCO, I had to inforce this FDCPA rule to include cell phones, since minutes are paid for.
Nohandle on 11/27/2007:
Help me out here DB because I selected one sentence out of context, that being: While it makes sense for firms to be forbidden from making typical telemarketing calls to cell phones because the recipient has to pay to receive the calls, collectors should be able to use the technology because they are trying to recover a payment obligation from the call recipient, Andersen explained.

This is your speciality, not mine, but I received a recycled cell phone number and I'm certain many do unless they have had the same number for years. I elected to retain my number since its one of those easy to remember ones. From almost day one all I received were collection calls for James ** No one had been given my cell phone number. I patiently explained he no longer had the number but that didn't stop the calls. Six months and still going on.
tnchuck100 on 11/27/2007:
I agree with the intent here, DB. Since many people have gone to cell phone only lifestyles the collection agencies should have access to them.

However, as Nohandle has pointed out, if they are advised the number they are calling no longer belongs to the individual they are seeking they must stop. The problem is they won't stop.

So, if they are going to be permitted to call cell phones by law then the law must also implement a method to severely, surely, and quickly punish those agencies that continue to call when they have been advised they have the wrong number.
DebtorBasher on 11/27/2007:
Nohandle...I had the same thing happen when I got my cellphone. A collector kept calling for Mrs. *** and it was for a hospital bill. Since the only people who have my number are my parents and family...I only have the phone for emergencies or if I want to make a long distance call. No one calls me on it. Anyway, I get charged each time I pick up a voice mail. After about the 5th time of this collector calling, I changed my recorded greeting to state, "Hi, You've reached DB ... if you are calling for any other person than me, you have the wrong number. This is a personal cellphone and if you are calling for Mrs. **** for a bill, she no longer has this phone number and you will be violation of the FDCPA and will be reported". I never received another call again...I left that message on there for about two months, to make sure they got the message. It isn't as long of a message when you state it as it looks when you read it. Being the skip tracer that I am...I tracked Mrs. *** down and added her contact number to my message...
No Handle...if they do not stop calling your cellphone after you told them...send them a letter telling them to remove your phone number...send it certified with a return receipt...then if they call you again, you can sue them for voilation of the FDCPA , will be important to keep record of the calls they make once they've received your letter. A print out of a bill would be great, it would show where the call comes from...or, keep it in your voice mail history or whatever way you have of keeping track on your incoming calls.
DebtorBasher on 11/27/2007:
Chuck...the same FDCPA laws would apply to wrong numbers as they are now...once told they have the wrong number, they must cease calling it. If not, they are in violation of the FDCPA.
Principissa on 11/27/2007:
DB my sister is having the exact same problem you have. She is getting phone calls for a man named Chuck and they just will not stop. I'm going to tell her to put that on her voice mail. As tacky as it will sound when someone calls that number I'm hoping it will chase them off so they leave her alone.
Anonymous on 11/27/2007:
I disagree with the whole premise of any company seeking to add anything to any legislation when in fact they had there chance when they tried to buy the congress in the first place with there “lobbying” which is just another term for bribery. Adding any amendment for one sector to enable the profit of the sector is an affront to the constitution as far as I am concerned.

“collectors should be able to use the technology because they are trying to recover a payment obligation from the call recipient, Andersen explained.” It is funny how these kinds of things are simply (Black & white) when it comes to what a company wants, yet the people don’t want it and they are considered dead beats that don’t pay there bills. But no one even considers what the situation really is and who the crook really is.

If this continues at the rate it is going soon the collection agencies will be as powerful and as illegal as the IRS, which is nothing more than a collection agency.

If this mess continues we are all going to be led to the fields and put to work as slaves, I tell you it will get out of control.

But this is a very good review Little D. (VH)
Anonymous on 11/27/2007:
DB, you know my story about being called by NCO for the wrong person. so I think there needs to be a law to penalize collection agenices that harass people by calling the wrong number. I told NCO they had the wrong number and that's when they really turned up the heat until I reported them to every government agency I could find.

So if an agency calls the wrong person or number using an auto dialer it can only make the problem worse? Should we have to burn up our minutes on our cell phone because an agency refuses to stop calling even after being told to do so? I have only had one dealing with an agency and it was NCO so maybe I just had to deal with the worst there is out there? (VH info though)
Nohandle on 11/27/2007:
DB, I certainly appreciate your advice. Would you believe I've never set up voice mail or anything else on the cellphone? I'm serious. If someone wants to call me it's at the office or home. Anyway, this bat bill collector for James called one day and I answered. I informed her nicely to begin with what had transpired earlier. Apparently she didn't believe me and got somewhat nastly. Well, that's all it took. I gave it to her with both barrels. Well, she rung me out and placed me on the clothes line and then screamed if I didn't want to talk to her to just not answer the phone and then hung up. It was worth it for the laughs then and even now. Others might not appreciate it but I still think it's funny.
DebtorBasher on 11/27/2007:
Super you said, "so I think there needs to be a law to penalize collection agenices that harass people by calling the wrong number"....There ARE laws against it...and for the three years I've been on here, I have been making people aware of that over and over. It doesn't matter if it is a dialer or a manual call...once they are told it is a wrong number, the collector is SUPPOSED to ask the person if they know of the person they are looking for (sometimes it's a relative with the same name). If they don't, they are supposed to remove the number...but there are times, and I've seen this a lot...where a collector will have positive contact with the debtor on a Monday, the person ID's themself as the debtor, TALKS to the collector. Then when that person is called the next week, all of a sudden they say it's the wrong number (because they now know you're a bill collector). THOSE are the times most collectors will leave the number on the account. There are mistakes made with lazy skip tracers who do not verify a number as a valid number, but will put the number in the system just because it's the same last name. They do this to pad their number of finds...and this was something that really irrated me as a skip tracer, as a collector and as a quality supervisor.
Anonymous on 11/27/2007:
The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and range. The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he creates. With the increasing value of the world of things proceeds in direct proportion to the devaluation of the world of men. Labour produces not only commodities; it produces itself and the worker as a commodity -- and does so in the proportion in which it produces commodities generally.

Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts (1844)
DebtorBasher on 11/27/2007:
Well NoHandle...that is one collector that will get her company sued.
Anonymous on 11/27/2007:
DB, I was not aware that the law was that specific about an agency calling after being told they called the wrong number, really. If it ever I get one of these calls again what law would I tell them they are breaking?
Principissa on 11/27/2007:
I know this is going to sound silly but I am confused. If I get a call from Jane Doe at X collection agency on my cell phone for someone I don't know, I am charged for those minutes. Now I know that you say to tell them that this person no longer has the number, and also suggested to leave that message on voice mail. But what if they do not stop? My phone bill will get charged for each minute used to explain to people that the person doesn't have the number. Why should people like me have to pay because a collection agency does not believe that I am not who they are looking for?
Anonymous on 11/27/2007:
superbowl - If you don't have something constructive to add to the dialog then it's best just to 'lurk' and not waste space in the comment section with your fake befuddlement.
DebtorBasher on 11/27/2007:
Super...the reason for it, is because once a collector is told they have the wrong is then considered harassment with each call after. Harassment is considered a High Risk violation...they have high risk and low risk. Tell them they are in violation of harassment under the FDCPA.
DebtorBasher on 11/27/2007:
Princi...if they continue AFTER they've been notified it is the wrong number, that is when you can sue them. $1,000.00 per violation...would more than pay for those minutes.
DebtorBasher on 11/27/2007:
Stew! Stop following're like gum stuck to my shoe and I can't get rid of it! Unless you voted me helpful, then I'm willing to be stuck with you.
Anonymous on 11/27/2007:
Stew, try to be civil and act like a mature contributing member of M3C's for a change OK? We all know it will be tough for you but give it a try.
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Debate Over Nevada's State Law
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NEVADA -- State Senate Panel Debates Bill Allowing Collectors to be Recorded

After Nevada's lower house approved a measure to exclude debt collectors from the state's dual-consent recording law, the bill gets some debate time in the Senate before a vote.

After passing Nevada’s Assembly with a vote of 28-14, AB 127, a bill that would allow consumers to secretly record phone conversations with collection agencies, is now being debated in Nevada’s Senate.

The law would change a 1998 Nevada Supreme Court ruling that recording telephone conversations without the consent of both parties is barred under state law.

In support of AB 127, that “69,000 complaints to the FTC” data is being trotted out – again, without any corroborating evidence, or any acknowledgement that the 69,000 figure is all complaints lodged and not the number of valid complaints. The ACA, working with PriceWaterhouse Cooper, is preparing an analysis of the 69,000 complaints.

"I realize this is a departure from the way business is conducted in Nevada," Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, a sponsor of the bill, told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "After becoming aware of the amount of abuse is taking place, I have come to the conclusion that additional consumer protection measures in this area are warranted." However, when Smith mentions “becoming aware of the amount of abuse,” she’s only referencing the FTC’s data which has not been analyzed in any meaningful way. What she’s aware of is growing consumer dissent with collection agencies; that shouldn’t necessarily be the basis for an unfair new law.

John Sande IV, a lobbyist for an association of Nevada debt collectors, pointed out that the industry is tightly regulated by federal law. If Nevada wants to change the law regarding recording phone conversations, it should regulate all conversations equally, he added.

April 30, 2007
by Mike Bevel,
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Nohandle on 04/30/2007:
DB, with the exception of a wrong telephone number once on my machine I've not been bothered. Wait, I take that back. I dialed the number left on the machine to inform the invididual not only did he have the wrong number but the wrong name as well. That opened a can of worms. It must have been 6 calls later, each call getting a little uglier for them to stop. I told them how long I had the number, who lived here and repeated they had the wrong number. They seems to find that impossible to comprehend. How could they have the wrong number? Incidentally, the character they were tracking down was in another state. DUH..don't they recognize area codes?

I'm curious as to what is going on in Nevada and the end result. How many states have a like law? It appears the the consumers wouldn't want to tape any conversation unless it was to their benefit. Just how bad do these calls really get that someone would want to tape them? Also, has Nevada received 69,000 complaints on any other business?

You were in debt collection a long time. I realize your particular branch didn't use tactics used by others. You've also stated you guys would be fired for going over the line. What's your take on this?
Anonymous on 04/30/2007:
DebtorBasher, so what do you think? I don't deal with collection agencies but if I had to and I told them I was going to record the conversation would that be allowed? I think having a recording of what was said by who on both sides would be a good thing in case complaints showed up later. You know my one and only story with a collection agency, NCO.
ejack053824 on 04/30/2007:
Recording phone calls depends on what state you reside in superbowl. Like for instance Florida, you have to have permission from the other party to record the conversation. If the collector continues to yack on, like basher, after you told them you are recording..then you have secured permission.
DebtorBasher on 05/01/2007:
EJ...You've been flying at high altitude again, haven't you?
ejack053824 on 05/01/2007:
Basher I was at 50,000 ft earlier today. You disagree with my advice?
DebtorBasher on 05/04/2007:
I disagree that I "Yack on"...whenever anyone told me they were recording, I told them that was fine...I wasn't doing anything wrong, so why should I care? Maybe they liked the sound of my voice and wanted to hear it over and over once they paid their bill and knew I wouldn't be calling them anymore.
Anonymous on 05/05/2007:
ejack053824 is right like in CA. it is against the law without permission and the "yack on" part as well.
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