5 Main Ethical Points The Best Collection Agencies Follow
Decisions are based on a number of factors, but most face the daunting idea of ethics. What may be the most lucrative deal is not always the most ethical. Decisions that put the reputation of your company on the line can cause both short and long-term damage to almost every facet of your business and take years to ever recover.
Debt collection has a reputation for being an industry for being ethically and morally split. From agencies that are attacking consumers on bills that they may not owe, to other agencies using abusive practices to get the debt paid, there are tons of horror stories of pretender agencies ruining the reputation of the entire industry.
In conjunction with the International Association of Commercial Collectors, our President & CEO, Mark LeFevre, helped develop a code of ethics that all certified commercial collection agencies must abide by. These ethics protect creditors, agencies, and debtors alike and make for a collaborative and positive relationship between all 3 parties.
1. Maintain Separate Trust Accounts for Collections
What does the agency you use do with the money that they collect? There needs to be an assurance that money collected is deposited into a separate trust account that will monitor what goes in and what goes out. A trust account is inherently monitored by a 3rd party to keep the best interest of the parties involved.
So why is this important? This helps prevent an agency from keeping the money that they collect on your behalf. Remittance is the best day for a creditor. Receiving the cash that you have been crucially missing is the whole benefit of using an agency, don’t let a scammer agency rob that from you.
2. Responding to Creditor Inquiries
So you have placed your account for collections. Now what? Agencies all have their own process, but they shouldn’t leave you out on it. Reach out and see what updates there are on your account. The response is crucial.
How transparent are they? Are they scheduling follow-ups with you? Collection agencies should be keeping a direct line of communication with you so you know exactly where you stand with your money.
3. Respecting Debtor Contact Points
This principle applies to the commercial collection realm more than the consumer, but remains important none the less. When working with the point of contact of a debtor, they may hire an attorney to represent them. It now becomes the responsibility of the agency to work with the attorney regarding the pending invoices.
If the attorney fails to respond to the agency’s inquiries, then the main point of contact falls back on to the debtor. The job of an agency is to facilitate communication and find a resolution, so constant communication is key.
4. Debtor Relations
How an agency treats their assigned debtors is just as important, if not more important, than how they treat their clients. Many times when a client is placed for collections, the original creditor wants to maintain a relationship with their client. Beware of the collection agencies that use harassment as their go-to tactic.
It is the position of the agency to understand that the debtor probably had full intentions of paying their bill when they ordered their product/service. Like many times in life, things pop up unexpectedly and can deviate plans. An ethical commercial collection agency is happy to work with companies of all situations and help remedy their issues.
5. Remittance Schedule
An agency should be very transparent about its remittance schedule. Like the old JG Wentworth commercial would say “it’s my money and I need it now”.
Unethical agencies may find themselves behind on their bills and feel that they can hold on to your cash as a way to keep some reserve cash. This is not only extremely unethical but borderline illegal, depending on the agreement you have set up with them. There needs to be a clear understanding of when funds are to be remitted/billed to ensure a steady cash flow!
Finding an ethical agency has never become as important as it is today. Between COVID, the prominence of social media, and how quickly bad representation can affect your brand and cash flow, partnering with an agency that exemplifies the core offerings of an ethical agency.
Kearns Brinen & Monaghan understands the importance of agency ethics and its instrumental role in partnerships. By developing a code of ethics for the IACC and helping tailor practices for other certified agencies, KBM remains at the forefront of ethics. Reach out to us today and see how we can start collecting for you today!