ReputationIn doing your research, a high rating with the Better Business Bureau is a good indication that the agency is legitimate and reputable. If any concerns were raised with the BBB you can also see how the agency responded. Just like with any other business it is important to see how an organization handles a situation that didn’t go smoothly from the start. Additionally, you may find reviews on search engines. These can be a double-edged sword as some are not related to the work they do. You have to be careful with the credibility of the reviews and reviewers themselves. That said, a long list of complaints – especially if they are recent – can be a red flag.
Referrals Are AvailableAsk the company you are looking at if they can provide you with referrals, especially from within your industry. Follow up with each referral to ask about their experience with the agency. Was the experience pleasant? Were they able to collect successfully? What were the downsides, if any, of working with that agency? The time you invest in calling referrals and reading reviews is much less than you will spend undoing the damage from hiring a low-quality agency.
Integrity MattersIntegrity is everything in the debt collection industry, and you should never partner with a company that upholds unethical or questionable standards. Companies that use those methods aren’t just able to damage your reputation—they could also lead your company to face litigation for their practices, even if you were not aware they were breaking the law. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), professional debt collection agencies cannot:
- Threaten debtors with violence or harm
- Threaten garnishment or seizure unless they are legally able to and intending on taking such an action
- Call debtors before 8 AM or after 9 PM, unless the debtor agreed to be contacted then
- Call debtors at inconvenient places, like their work
- Contact friends or family members more than once
- Make false statements
- Send documents that appear as if they are legal or court documents, but are not
Advanced TechnologyExcellent collection agencies are armed with the right technology and tools to ensure the highest collection rate possible. What types of technology do today’s professional debt collection agencies utilize?
- Skip-tracing technology, which can be used to locate hard-to-track customers (like those who move without a forwarding address or change addresses and phone numbers frequently)
- Online payment portals that allow customers to make payments on line