Debt Collection 101: Where to Begin

By on August 7th, 2017 in Debt Collection, Industry Insights

The heydays of 2015 are over, and investors are looking at business operations and growth before opening up their checkbook for the next round of funding. They are pushing for better margins and cash flow. In the past, you focused on top line growth and knew that there’s another round coming. You can’t do that anymore.

You talk to your CFO and it’s obvious that chargebacks and late payments are a bigger line item than you’d want them to be. You don’t need to be a lender for that. You could have chargebacks from people who regret their purchase (but somehow forget to return the item). Some are on post-paid plans but their cards expire. Some use your product, incur penalties, and never pay them. Simply writing off the debt is not an option.  

Why not do collections in-house? You may decide to try an in-house collections department. Your customer service people aren’t too excited about the new tasks, so they make a few calls and send an email, but no one responds. Those that do pick up the phone are sometimes aggressive and your agents can’t handle them. You realize that collections and customer service are not complimentary job functions and need to be separated. You try to hire a collections professional and are shocked by the cultural mismatch. This isn’t going to work. You’re not going to invest a lot upfront in the hopes of recovering 2% of what’s owed to you.

You decide to work with an outside collection agency. These folks don’t speak your language. They don’t even know what an API is. They outsource their collection activity to Guatemala because that’s how they can make 6 calls per day per customer, cheap. They become defensive when you mention your customers don’t like being called and prefer digital channels like email and text. You want them to care about your brand and customers but their agents make commissions on every dollar collected and if they can’t make their numbers, they get booted. You see where this is going. It’s not going to work.

Here’s the thing: debt collection is part of the business lifecycle, and when implemented correctly, can help you get paid while maintaining your brand and customer engagement. It’s possible to collect and keep your customers satisfied. Collections can use digital channels and a self-service system that gives people the payment flexibility they need, improves your chances of recovery, and reduces the time it takes them to commit to a payment. We’ve seen collection rates as high as 27% for eCommerce companies, because many of your customers who fall behind want to pay. They just needed to be treated correctly – in the same targeted, data driven, UX-first approach that you use for the rest of your product. That’s what we spend a lot of time building.

The Debt Collection Rule is Coming in 2017 – Here’s What to Expect

By on August 7th, 2017 in Compliance, Debt Collection, Industry Insights

The CFPB just announced its 2017 rulemaking agenda. In its message, the CFPB states that it has “decided to issue a proposed rule later in 2017 concerning debt collectors’ communications practices and consumer disclosures.” InsideARM puts the date at September of this year. This is great news for consumers, creditors – and even collectors.

The rule is expected to focus on collector communication practices. Judging by the CFPB’s 2016 outline, that includes clarifications on the use of social media and emails for collections, as well as a cap on weekly contact attempts per account.

Emails and social media are consumers’ preferred channels for communication, even with debt collectors. We expect this rule to open the flood gates on responsible, consumer-centric, and scalable collection practices that will benefit everyone involved. We’ve written extensively on how machine learning based, digital first systems collect better than traditional solutions, and we expect these clarifications to greatly aid in giving consumers what they want.

Contact caps continue the trend of limiting the use of phone calls as means to communicate with consumers in the debt collection process. As we wrote before, the biggest challenge to the debt collection industry is that phone calls are becoming irrelevant. The CFPB is continuing the regulatory trends following consumer preference, and while it’s opening up new communication channels, it’s severely limiting phone calls. We expect this trend to worsen.

This rule is a boon for the collection industry. While it may be challenged by those who focus on getting the most profit out of old school technologies, those in the industry who embrace technology and want to help consumers can’t help but appreciate the trend. The regulator is paving the way towards better user experience, better cost adjusted technologies, and an ability to actually help consumers at scale. Industries like e-commerce, tech and fintech have been very focused on consumer experiences and cannot afford to subject their customers to traditional agency behavior.  And major banks and lenders realize that this revolution is coming, and many of them have already engaged in transforming their vendor network and internal operations to be future facing. This rule is another great step on that path.

Response to the FCC Notice of Inquiry (NOI)

By on July 31st, 2017 in Compliance, Debt Collection, Industry Insights

The FCC recently released a Notice Of Inquiry (NOI) on the topic of on-call authentication, and the debt collection industry is again up in arms about its past, rather than embracing its future. Collectors are having a hard time authenticating consumers’ identity on phone calls, and that leads to a lower number of productive conversations. In a detailed article on InsideARM, Stephanie Eidelman correctly states that “While [the proposal] is not aimed specifically at debt collection, the problem is significant in the industry. The next trick would be to assist in helping the consumer authenticate their identity to a legitimate collector, in a way that eliminates the need to share personal information.” Dear collectors, there are wonderful authentication solutions available to you. Put down that headset, turn off your dialer, and turn your attention to the online world.

Consumer preference is changing. 97% of business calls go unanswered, according to Neustar. Phone calls are real-time interactions, imposing on the consumer’s time and attention. Once consumers pick up, they start from deep suspicion towards the person on the other side, who now has to earn their trust while asking for personal information. It’s a stressful situation, especially for someone paid a commission for collected dollars. Often this devolves into a heated exchange between a stressed consumer and an equally stressed collector. Calls aren’t only bad for reaching consumers; they are bad for engaging them in a meaningful exchange, too.

Emails and digital communication channels provide a superior customer experience. Emails and social media apps are password protected, simplifying the authentication process. If you require added security, many established companies offer real time authentication solutions that keep the consumer engaged with your system. It is easy to quantify and improve the experience to keep consumers engaged, reviewing their options, until they find one that fits. Consumers can choose to engage in times that work for them, rather than times when collectors are available to take their call. As a result, using digital channels significantly cannibalizes the phone channel: on average, TrueAccord makes 5 call attempts to each account over a 90 day placement period, compared with up to 6-10 attempts per day in call center based operations, and still collects better with lower complaint rates.

Calls pose multiple challenges – from operational ones to legal ones. They are costly and complicated. The FCC’s ATDS ruling is disastrous and further limits the efficacy of phone calls. Yet collectors choose to focus on fighting phone-related regulation instead of finding new ways to communicate with consumers. It is starting to look as though some prefer a contact method that consumers think of as harassing and intrusive, because moving to digital communications is simply outside of their comfort zone.

Code Driven Compliance is the Future for Debt Collection

By on July 17th, 2017 in Compliance, Industry Insights, Machine Learning

Debt collection is a highly litigated activity. Compliance personnel and systems budgets are crowding out other investments. It’s appropriate: debt collectors and creditors are often hit by class action lawsuits and government action, leading to huge fines and settlements. Reducing risk is their primary priority. When examined closely, though, the traditional debt collection model attracts numerous compliance issues. The legacy approach is being replaced by  machine learning and digital first systems. These code-controlled systems offer predictable, scalable, and auditable operations that, coupled with best in class user experience, significantly reduce the risk of litigation and regulatory action.

The traditional model invites regulatory scrutiny and lawsuits

Collectors often cite compliance concerns as impediment to adopting new technologies. Lawyers are concerned about TCPA exposure from text messaging, consent requirements for emails, and FDCPA violations when using social media. These concerns are unfounded: text messages can be safely delivered if consent and revocation are properly documented, the CFPB saw no need for consent to email (as reflected by a growing body of opinions, as well as its 2016 rule outline), and social media can be used with restraint. While dragging their feet on evaluating new technologies, compliance departments embrace and perpetuate much bigger risks: the prevalent use of human labor, over reliance on phone calls, and the outdated, fragmented interfaces used by collectors.

Humans are the weakest link in the compliance chain

Traditional wisdom says that only people collect from people. That claim is demonstrably false. People are subject to biases and acting emotionally when interacting with debtors – which is why machine learning based systems collect better than humans. People may be tired, angry, or distracted. They can be baited into violating the FDCPA by a ill-meaning debtor. The prevalent commission-based compensation model, a broken and outdated model for collections, puts them in odds with debtors whenever they interact. Human beings just cannot do error-free work, no matter how trained or experienced they are.

Keeping appropriate staffing levels is another challenge for collection teams. Large market participants report 75-100% annual turnover rates (per the CFPB’s operational survey), requiring constant hiring of collection staff. Training and overseeing these new people is a daunting task, especially with the ever changing case law and legislative landscape in the collection space. Providing an efficient and fully compliant collection experience while relying on new and untrained collectors is almost impossible.

Phone calls are a dying communication method

Consumer preference is shifting away from phone calls, but phone call compliance would have been difficult even if that wasn’t the case. Calls are a compliance liability due to their frequency, their real-time nature, and the overall regulatory sentiment towards them.

Collection calls must be frequent to reach consumers. On days when an agent works an account, they may attempt to contact the consumer 4-6 times, often as frequently as 10 times per day. Consumers aren’t picking up the phone, so agents need to make more call attempts to try and reach them.   While most states, and the FDCPA, don’t limit call frequency, high frequency of calls often leads to complaints and lawsuits alleging harassment. Collector take this huge risk because calling is the only tool they understand.

Collection calls are also real-time. No matter how elaborate call scripts are and how experienced collectors may be, it is impossible to completely control the development of any individual call. Voice analytics software is limited, unable to identify most baiting and escalation issues. Real time monitoring of all calls by supervisors is financially implausible. Collection agencies are forced to settle for the best training possible, clear escalation paths for collectors whose calls go badly, and hoping for the best. Realistically, when making a large volume of calls, every day will have some potential violation.

Finally, regulation has been working against phone calls for the past few years. The FCC’s ruling limiting the use of ATDS has been devastating, and expecting it to be completely undone by the new commissioner is a pipe dream – government is not debt collectors’ friend. States like West Virginia and Massachusetts have enacted call frequency limitations, and the CFPB’s new rule outline includes a 6-times-per-week limit on call attempts. All signs point to a future where phone calls cannot plausibly be the main channel for collecting debt with any semblance of compliance.

Code driven compliance is here, and it’s a big step forward

Code driven compliance gives us complete control on what actions can be triggered by our system. It’s one of the components in Heartbeat, our machine learning-based, digital first collection platform. Heartbeat is a leap forward in debt collection, and its compliance advantages are many: from better user experience to perfect auditability.

Best in class user experience in debt collection is a compliance advantage

Many if not most of debt collection lawsuits hang on a technicality. A word is arguably missing or written in a debatable way. It’s unclear whether 8 calls or 9 calls constitute harassment. Often, consumers don’t resort to lawyers because they know for a fact they have been wronged – it is often not clear that they have been – but because their experience with the collector has been bad enough to push them to seek defence or retribution. Great user experience is therefore not only a way to improve the creditor’s brand perception and returns, but also a way to reduce the rate of complaints and lawsuits. TrueAccord’s Heartbeat system attempts to contact consumers an average of 3 times per week, compared to 4-6 times a day for traditional agencies. That, paired with best in class web and mobile experience and a helpful customer service department, significantly reduces consumers’ desire to sue for, or complain about, ambiguous technicalities.

Consumers get a consolidated account page showing all their options

Since more than 90% of Heartbeat’s interactions with the consumer do not involve a human collector, human beings are only needed for a fraction of the work. TrueAccord is able to hire skilled workers and pay them a living wage, with no commission component. Knowing that they will earn a good salary working for a technology startup reduces any incentive our team members would have had to fight with or harass consumers. That, in turn, contributes to great user experience and reduces compliance risk.

Pre-approved content and an integrated system eliminate human error

Human error is the biggest challenge for compliance departments. Collectors today need to navigate multiple systems to call, negotiate with, and collect payments from consumers. Updating the results of a call is often a complex process, requiring yet another system. Many requests to unsubscribe numbers, cease and desist communications, or simply to provide debt verification are lost and lead to complaints. This fragmented process is extremely tedious and time consuming, and inherently flawed. Letting collectors write their own emails and text messages is too much risk – something that will surely lead to violations on a daily basis.

TrueAccord’s content approval console

Heartbeat takes a code controlled approach to communications. Every outgoing communication is pre-written, then reviewed and pre-approved by TrueAccord’s legal team. Every email, text, web page and letter have to pass TrueAccord’s content guidelines driven by law, policy and procedures, including required disclosures and forbidding certain words and phrases in subject lines, or in the body of communications. Our clients’ legal and content team are also involved in commenting on our procedures as well as specific content items, to make sure we fit each company’s risk tolerance. Heartbeat will only send text messages to numbers that it knows it has express consent to text, and that have gone through an ownership check within a defined time period. Even when collectors respond to inbound consumer emails, they use pre-written replies that then direct Heartbeat how to proceed in serving the consumer. The decision to proactively communicate is strictly based on Heartbeat logic, not on collector whims; collectors cannot decide to contact consumers whenever they see fit.

After contacting consumers, the system monitors their response. Consumers can easily opt out of communications, by replying to a text message or by clicking a link in every email that lets them easily unsubscribe from future email communications. Every email and every payment page contain a link that lets consumers ask for debt verification via a few simple online steps instead of a cumbersome and mail-based process. Every interaction is designed to give consumers an opportunity to ask for more information or limit communications to their preferred channel. Though easy to dismiss as an invitation for abuse, these options increase consumer engagement and result in overall better collections – while significantly reducing complaints about continued communications and missing documentation. These two categories have consistently been the top reasons for filing CFPB disputes ever since its dispute portal was made public.

The compliance firewall: enforcing compliance at scale

Human collectors are expected to remember dozens, maybe hundreds of compliance laws and regulations as well as creditor-imposed rules. It’s an impossible task, greatly simplified by Heartbeat’s Compliance Firewall. Since it controls all contact decisions by code, Heartbeat can enforce its compliance policy at scale on every interaction without needing to train human collectors. Contact timing or frequency, matching content to the right stage in a consumer’s process or preventing the use of unsubscribed contact methods, even making sure that a consumer doesn’t get a payment offer that the creditor didn’t approve – all are controlled by the Compliance Checker. Any attempted action outside of its well defined policy is dropped. Since it’s code controlled, it cannot forget to check the time and call a consumer after 9pm or before 8am.

The Compliance Firewall also allows updates to policies and procedures. Every new update can be implemented with accuracy within days, once the appropriate code is written. By taking judgement away from the collector and subjecting all contact decisions to a data-based, code-controlled system, Heartbeat makes the optimal decision for consumer experience and driving payments, without harassing the consumer or violating the myriad of restrictions that govern debt collection.

The easiest system to audit

Compliance requires tight monitoring, and creditors audit a large sample of collection activities by their vendors. With so many voice calls, even if they are all recorded, complete and accurate audits are impossible. Auditors need to sample cases and hope to find the right patterns, or employ a large and expensive team for sufficient coverage. Heartbeat eliminates almost 95% of phone calls (typically attempting to reach the consumer 3-5 times over a 90 day period), instead focusing on written communication. Back and forth written interactions are easier to capture, store, and search. The system also saves consumers’ browsing pattern on the website and their interactions with the content they receive. It’s easy to track consumer behavior and how the system responded to it, as well as why it made a specific decision. Code controlled compliance means that decisions are easy to replicate and trace back in case they’re questioned.

A readout from TrueAccord’s event-based audit trail

TrueAccord’s system also has an audit interface for creditor audits. Compliance staff can easily search for accounts and review all collection activity – including recorded calls, emails, and every other contact. It’s a much easier approach to compliance and controls than an unwieldy excel file or PDFs dropped in an FTP folder. TrueAccord’s data retention and tracking of consumer behavior provide a fuller snapshot of Heartbeat’s collection decisions and how consumers reacted to them.

Code driven compliance is the future

We examined the inherent risks in traditional collection activities and how sticking to the phone as the leading collection tool in a call center environment creates more risks than rewards. Then, we dove into how code controlled compliance offers predictable, pre-approved, and consistent collection strategies that are easy to audit and understand. The coming years will see more and more creditors and collectors move to these machine learning based systems, as they demonstrate dominance in returns and compliance. It’s time for risk averse compliance departments to realize that they are putting businesses at risk by sticking to their phone-based roots, and look beyond tradition. A whole world of mature, stable and trustworthy technologies awaits.

3 Things Debt Collectors Don’t Want you To Know

By on September 4th, 2013 in Compliance
TrueAccord Blog

Lock box safe

How many times have you read this headline? How many times have you discovered something that you didn’t really know already? We wanted to change that trend because frankly, there are things we want you to know so you can enjoy them when you’re working with us.

  1. Easy communication: we try everything we can to not call you at inconvenient times. In fact, we’d rather get you using our online portal to negotiate easy solutions to your outstanding balances. Much like you, we lead busy lives and want to take care of bills at our own pace, when it’s the right time for us.
  2. No hidden fees: we are upfront about what we ask you to pay and we don’t invent fees like administration or convenience fees. We believe in transparent processes and that means that even longer payment plans that we accept will carry minimal to no additional cost from TrueAccord.
  3. Disputing charges: think that you were wronged? We want to hear about it. We may not be able to change the outstanding amount but we’ve been successful with getting debtors and creditors to talk and settle. If you have a valid concern, we won’t badger you with the dry letter of the law – we want to help more than just recover as much as possible, as fast as possible.
See, these are the things we want you to know. We know getting into a recovery process isn’t fun, and we’re here to simplify it and to help you get through it easily.
Follow our blog, follow us on Twitter or write to us at nomoredebts@trueaccord.com if you want to hear more.

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Scammers in debt collection are real (and one of them tried to scam us)

By on August 30th, 2013 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

scammers

We know scammers roam free on the web, and we know they use people’s innocence to extort them for money. What’s easier than calling people in a tough spot and get them to pay you money they don’t really owe? It’s an ugly phenomenon. It’s also the reason why we always get our business customers to introduce us to their customers when a recovery process begins – there’s so much to worry about, why have to worry whether you’re being scammed?

Turns out it doesn’t stop there. Some of these scammers would rather not do the dirty work themselves, and they’re looking for someone to do it for them. We never imagined it works that way in recovery services, so imagine our surprise when we got an email from a previously unknown connection, providing us with the details of a debtor and a debt and urging us to work on it. Pretty aggressively so, I must add.

We won’t disclose private information so there’s not much we can say about Mr X, the alleged debtor. A quick investigation exposed the scammers, and we’re hopeful that Mr X won’t be troubled by fake collection calls. Given how easily his information was given, we’re concerned it’s not the last he’ll hear from fake collectors.

This case raises an important issue. People trade personal information too easily. Who knows where his customer’s details got exposed; too many companies feel that consumers’ information isn’t worth protecting once they owe money. This couldn’t be farther from the truth; if anything, sensitive information must be protected more rigorously when its discovery might embarrass consumers. Apparently, some players don’t care and will use any chance they have to make a dime. Luckily, this time they emailed the wrong company.

Finally, here are some words of advice:

  • Contacted by a collector? Make sure you understand who that company is and how the debt was placed with them. One of the things we allow consumers to do in many cases is settle directly with their creditor, reducing their concern with paying us directly, before they get to know us.
  • Got a suspicious email? Search for it online. Many scam catcher websites will warn you about common scams.
  • If your identity was stolen or information about you is publicly available without your consent, it could be a violation of the law. Read about identity theft in the FTC’s website, and be vigilant about sharing your information with risky websites.

Did you get fake collection calls or emails? Tell us!

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The top 3 reasons to talk to your defaulted customers

By on August 15th, 2013 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

Many businesses, especially web based ones, live and die by customer acquisition and growth. They invest money and time in new ways to attract new users to their service, while under investing and sometimes neglecting retention efforts. While growth is important, retaining customers is a much more profitable activity – active current customers spend more, and are more likely to use other services your offer. Within that group of current customers, customers who churn sometimes provide you with the most important feedback.

Why do customers churn, and end up owing you money? There could be many reasons, and often times the least of which is some malicious intent on these customers’ part. Some find that your product wasn’t what they expected; some have billing issues; others had a negative service experience. What do you gain from talking to these customers?

  1. They are often your most vocal critics. While that criticism is hard to listen to or read, and sometimes even exaggerated, it stems from a genuinely bad experience. Each customer who’s willing to talk to you represents dozens, maybe hundreds of others who disappear without saying a word. Listen to the content rather than the style, and you’ll discover a plethora of relevant product and process feedback.
  2. They care. Some unhappy customers will pay your dues then disappear off your platform forever, without ever voicing their concerns. Some of your defaulted customers care enough, feel strongly enough, that they opt to not pay and get in trouble with you. Winning a customer like that back potentially wins you a strong brand advocate.
  3. They owe you money. Bottom line, there is revenue to be recovered by reconciling with churned customers. It starts with the money they owe you, but their life time value, if won back as customers, can provide much higher ROI on recovery activities than you may intially think.
Approaching and reconciling with churned customers is an art and science. Follow our blog to learn more about how we do it!

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What many won’t talk about: getting paid for work you already did is sometimes the hardest part

By on June 27th, 2013 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

overdue-invoice

Cash flow is the life line of any business, but it’s especially felt at small businesses. Delaying one large payment could mean going out of business. Delaying several small ones can mean a significant dent in your financials, and in your ability to provide for yourself. Until now, businesses had one of two options: either spend precious time dealing with this issue themselves, or see most of their income spent on fees for third parties – a lose:lose situation. We want to offer you a third, winning one: TrueAccord.

Payment delays or cancellations happen for many reasons. A lot of times there’s a disagreement about a service or product provided that drives customers to withhold or reverse a payment. Some are actually insolvent and can’t pay. Finally, some people are just THAT person and have bad payment ethics – if they plan to pay at all.

A customer arbitrarily deciding not to pay can be an infuriating experience with grave financial consequences. Dealing with it takes a lot of time and raises questions you must answer: How far will you go in getting paid? Is this the best use of your time? Are you willing to lose this customer? How can this be solved efficiently? You don’t want to lose a customer but you need to get paid.

Most business owners deal with this problem on their own, spending expensive human hours. There are few alternatives out there. Collection agencies won’t touch most of these receivables – your portfolio or outstanding amounts are too small. You should be ready to get only 50% of whatever they collect for you and be willing to lose the customer due to their practices. This is hardly cost effective for a business with debts that are critical for its existence.

That’s where we step in. TrueAccord is an easy, friendly and accessible service that finds your customers, interacts with them respectfully, and lets them pay what they owe you in a flexible manner. If they have a dispute with you, we help you settle that. All for a much lower fee than any other company and without expecting you to lose your customer. We’ve been able to return impressive numbers of debtors back to good standing with their service providers for a continued fruitful relationship.

What we specifically don’t do is set terms. You don’t need to go through a process before handing us the work. You don’t need to have a certain kind of portfolio. We have the ability to help every small business get paid – and we only get paid when you do.

We’d love to help you. Come grow with us.

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Don’t Be That Person: Top 5 Reasons To Work With TrueAccord

By on June 25th, 2013 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

that-person

Google “debt collection”. Try it. What did you find?

Being in debt isn’t fun. Whether you’re unhappy with a service you got, simply forgot or just can’t afford it, getting a notice isn’t a high moment or a pleasant one. Still, when you read online resources, it seems like you have to gear up for war and do anything to find fault in the debt collector’s process, and maybe even sue.

The only problem? This advice helps one type of people – the lawyers who provide it, hoping to get a case. You will still have a debt on your name that may impact you negatively. Is fighting back always the best answer? Definitely no. Even if you’re highly frustrated, understanding what’s going on is important to get to a resolution that’s good for the long term. TrueAccord was started to help people in debt, not make them feel compromised, but the frustration comes with the territory. We understand. That’s why we want to help you undertand your options.

If your first response is to deny and attack or try to disengage when you get your first debt notice, listen up: here are five reasons why listening to TrueAccord and working with us works in your favor.

  1. Not paying because you are unhappy with the service or product you got? We can help. We are not interested in collecting on debts that stem from disputed exchanges. We have a great record of helping debtors get heard by their creditors, and in some cases getting their claims recognized. Even if you think you tried everything, you haven’t tried us.
  2. Unsure why you owe money? Don’t disregard it. Ask for clarification. TrueAccord follows due process in providing you information about your debt. We will work to make sure you get the information you are eligible for; once you do, dealing with the debt is much easier.
  3. Unattended debts may incur interest, but we can help stop that. In many terms of service you’ve agreed to online exist paragraphs that make it possible to charge you interest for the time the debt has been outstanding. By working through debt payments with us, we can often waive that interest. We’re here to help you succeed, not pull you down with fees.
  4. Can’t pay now? We handle multiple payment options. We’ve worked with debtors on delayed payments, discounted settlements and payment plans because we recognize every person  is different.
  5. It’s the right thing to do. Don’t scoff. We’re in this business because we think it needs a shot of good intentions, but that goes both ways. Don’t be THAT person: we appreciate the English language as much as you do, but profanity gets no-one nowhere. Work with us, and we’ll get this done in no time.

Debts are no joke, and not something to ignore. Own your debt or it will own you. We want to be your partners, and we are here to help.

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How One Rude Debt Collector Made Us Start TrueAccord

By on June 2nd, 2013 in Industry Insights
TrueAccord Blog

TrueAccord

It was an early morning in the summer of 2012, and my phone rang.

I didn’t recognize the out-of-state number, and didn’t pick up. I don’t usually pick up unless I know who’s calling.

The next day, the same thing happened. In the following week I received a call every morning, each time from a different phone number. Eventually I picked up. We have an important message for you, said a robotic voice, please remain on the line.

Unbelievable, they’re calling me and I need to wait? Still, the calls would just continue. I stayed on the line. Within a minute I was already deep in conversation with a rude, aggressive debt collector who promptly notified that I have a late payment. I then realized why: I had forgotten to pay the balance for a card I had with one of the big retail chains. It happens, and luckily, I could afford to pay it. Not everyone can.

I offered to pay with my credit card. No, said the person aggressively, that is not acceptable. I can use a debit card but that will cost me a $15 “convenience” fee. Heck, I’ll just pay with a check, but I don’t have my checks next to me. I’ll pay later today, I told her. TODAY, she said, with an angry tone. Today, I accepted.

That experience stayed with us when we started thinking about TrueAccord. Why not treat people with respect? Why subject them to robotic callers and hidden fees? Why not offer convenient, flexible ways to pay? That rude collector and the negative experience I underwent simply due to forgetting a payment has spawned a business plan. We can do better. We can help businesses get paid without creating alienation between them and their customers, and we can bring back feedback on what doesn’t work and why disgruntled ex-customers are reluctant to settle a debt. We can help debtors settle without pushing them down more or making them feel disrespected.

The result is what you see here. If you got an email from us, you can count on us to work with you. Debts aren’t fun, but you don’t want to disregard them either. We’ll be fair with you, but walk you in a path that ends with your obligations met. We view it as our mission to make you successful and make sure your voice is heard. Welcome to TrueAccord!

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