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    The first thing a creditor should be aware of when working with any Collection Agency or third party collector is potential liability.  The "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act" or "FDCPA", was enacted to protect debtors from abusive and/or unethical actions by third party collectors.  All Collection Agencies and Attorneys (those who practice law primarily as collectors) are regulated by the "FDCPA".

     Many Courts have ruled that Creditors are responsible for the actions of the Collection Agencies that represent them.  Judgments have been issued against Creditors for the "FDCPA" violations of their Collection Agencies.

     We have made available a version of the "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act".   Be aware that the law does change from time to time and this version may or may not be the most current.

     The next issue for Creditors to be aware of is results. The results, or success if you prefer, of a Collection Agency are directly related to a few key factors.  These factors are philosophy, experience of collection staff, technological expertise and work ethic.   By far, the most important of these factors is collection philosophy.

     The philosophy of any given Collection Agency will be either "hard" or "soft" collections.  At first, you may think that "hard" collections would be the most effective, but in our experience, that simply is not the case.   As the debt burden per household rises, it becomes more necessary for collectors to be problem solvers, not just hard core collectors.   People with debt problems too often face the decision of having to choose which creditor will be paid each month.  Pushing too hard may cause your payments to go to another creditor, or even worse, people may opt to file a petition for bankruptcy.  In 1996, over 1 million bankruptcies were filed in U.S. Bankruptcy courts.

     The next most important factor is the experience level of the collection staff.  A common problem in the collection industry is employee turnover.  At some agencies, it is difficult for them to keep collectors long enough for the collectors to become skilled at their jobs.  Collecting is a skill.  A highly skilled collector can often collect two or three times as much money as a "green" collector.  It is not uncommon for an agency to have a collection staff with an average of less than one year of experience.

     We pride ourselves on our ability to attract top level collectors and keep them. Our staff, including data entry, collectors, insurance clerks and legal clerks, have an average of 4.5 year of experience.  That is substantial in the collection industry.  Our management staff averages over a decade in collections!

     The American Collectors Association has several pages on their web site with specific information for creditors:

* A general guide for all creditors
* Do you have a collections problem?
* How to select a collection agency!
* Credit grantors and the FDCPA
* ACA members code of ethics