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Coming out of the closet....


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I once worked in collections.

Internal collections for a telephone company. I did this for two years.

I NEVER used underhanded tactics to get people to pay, never threatened, unless of course you consider the mandatory letter generated that explained they had X amount of days to get their account brought current or their service would be interrupted. That's business. In the telecommunications industry, the company can go broke if they don't intervene....huge dollars can be accumulated in long distance, etc if not. *shrug*...

but the one's I'm really talking about are the ones who run up large bills and then switched to another telephone provider for a fresh start...leaving me with a huge bill to collect on.

In the two years I worked in collections, my supervisor received one complaint about me from the customer.

It was because I had recommended them to our attorney for court action.


First of all, they were one of the ones who had run up a huge bill (over $6K, and this is easy for some businesses to do in less time than it takes to go through the process of the first due date and the date service is interrupted)...

A different company (owned by relatives of the above account) had called one day and wanted their "friends" service added to "their" service since they were going to be paying that service from now on. Their friends service was several thousand already. I explained the proper procedures that their "friend" would need to sign release documents and that the account would need to be current before any such changes could occur.

They came into the office to sign the paperwork, but I explained to them that it could not be processed until the payment was brought current, again, they were $6K past due. They didn't have the money and assured me the other company was going to pay it, but I politely explained it would have to be paid before it was transfered. It never got paid.

Two days later, the company wanting to take over "ownership" of the delinquent account appears in the paper under Chapter 7s.

In more simple terms:

Company X wanted to have company Y's account moved to Company X.

Company X already had several thousand dollars due on Company X account.

Company Y was $6K due.

So I didn't do it.

a few days later, Company X show'd up in the paper under Chapter 7.

In other words, they wanted to move Company Ys $6K over to their accounts so that it would be claimed under Company X's B7.

Clearly, they were trying to pull a fast one on us. After another couple of months of trying in earnest to get these people to make some sort of payment arrangements with our company and them completely ignoring all efforts on my part, even after what they tried to do, I suggested they be turned over to our attorney.

Do you want to know how many people I ever sent to a CA? Maybe 1 in 15. And I am talking about all of the people who were disconnected and already gone to another telephone company.

Why? because I put people in the mood to pay me. I was honest with them and totally understood when they told me they were having hard times or emergencies. I accepted $100 one week, maybe $5 or $10 the next as long as they sent the minimum of the arrangement.

If I promised them that I would not turn them over to a CA as long as they continually made good on their written arrangements, I didn't. I also sent them a signed agreement too, because I didn't feel it would be right if due to some reorganization or downsizing that I was no longer with the company before their debt was paid, that the next agent wasn't so nice and sent them to collections.

I didn't care if they were lying to me about some emergency surgery or death in the family, etc being their reason for not being able to pay the full amount, as long as they made good on our agreement.

Who knows, maybe I wouldn't have been so nice and understanding if I had not already walked in these people's shoes and knew how it felt....how the more the CA talked to me like dirt, the more I didn't think they "deserved" to be able to tell the OC "I got your money for you"..

I don't know what the reason for me posting this,....maybe just too much time on my hands this morning....but I will tell you this, they (CAs that are ruthless and downright degrading to you) are not treating people like dirt because they have to...they are either too stupid to know that a little sympathy and compassion will get them a long way, or they are just plain and simple a.s.s holes in real life too.

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Ya know.. The hardest time I had a with a collector was with credit acceptance corp. "mrs smith" called, I was late. But she was so so so nice to me. How in the world can you argue with a lady that sounded your grandma???

she got what she wanted from me ;) (In all honesty I was going to make the payment that day, but when the nasty collectors call, I tipically hung up on them)

Oddly, any other time i was 15 seconds or more late, Msr Smith always was the one to call.. once they get a payment, you stay on their desk for the life of the loan i guess.

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No just kidding. I've said all along here that I believe that people should make good on their debts, period. CA's and collectors in general, much like lawyers, have a bad name because of some percentage that are ruthless, illegal in their methods or simply a--holes.

I have no particular issue with them, in general, but always caution people here to deal with them in writing to keep everyone honest. I do believe that some are made to pay for the errors of others in their field.

Now all that said, I think most would separate what you did, as an OC, to what CA's do. Not the same thing and I think there is a vast difference in how these things are handled by each. You were a collection agent internal for the OC. CA's are external, and many do a poor job of communicating with people.

See, I've said that I believe some are "actually human" and I was right. Well aligator in this case, but close anyway.

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