Collector - July 2017 - 12

COLLECTIONTIPS

Conversational Choreography
Consumers respond best to authentic and genuine interactions with debt collectors,
but here's one time when you need to stick to the script.
By Anne Rosso May

A

debt collection conversation is
just that: two people exchanging
information and ideas about a
debt. You will be asking questions of the
consumer just as the consumer will be
asking questions of you, and giving natural,
empathetic reactions can help you make a
stronger connection.
But there's one time when your collection
call should be something of a monologue,
and that's in your initial opening disclosures
and verifications.
The beginning of a collection call-either
in-bound or out-bound-requires strict
adherence to your agency's compliance
requirements. You likely have a script or
process-based flow to follow in the first
few minutes of a call, and while it can be
tempting to deviate from this in the interest
of speeding things up, these guidelines are
in place to protect all parties involved in the
conversation.
First, you have to make sure you're talking
to the right person. Every agency has its
own specific policy on how to verify the
consumer's identity, and you must follow
this procedure at the beginning of every call
before you can discuss the debt, even if you
have just recently spoken to the consumer
or the person has called you to make a
payment.
Additionally, at some point you'll likely
have to give the call recording disclosure.
Both federal and state laws regulate
how conversations can be monitored
and recorded. Some states only require
the consent of one party to record a
conversation, while other states require the
consent of all parties. Most agencies opt to
cover their bases and give the call recording
disclosure on all calls.
Again, your agency's script will tell you
if and when to give this disclosure. Your

company's legal experts have likely had a
hand in creating the wording and placement
of this disclosure, so it's important to follow
the script verbatim.
After the consumer's identity has been
verified, you must give the mini-Miranda
for all initial communications, which
is required by the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act. The mini-Miranda states:
"This communication is from a debt
collector. This is an attempt to collect a debt
and any information obtained will be used
for that purpose." This disclosure is required
even when the consumer initiates the first
communication.
While federal law doesn't require you to
state the full mini-Miranda in subsequent

communications, you still must disclose to
the consumer in some fashion that you are
a debt collector. Follow your agency's policy
on what to say in these situations.
Let's be honest: Getting all these
disclosures and verifications out can take
some time, and the consumer may get
frustrated with the formality. Don't be
surprised if someone starts yadda-yaddayadda-ing you in the middle of all this.
But don't get distracted by the consumer's
overtalk. Stay focused on the information-
you need to stick to your agency's script to
protect both yourself and your company.
Anne Rosso May is editor of Collector
magazine.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - July 2017

Upfront
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
What’s in Your Policy?
State Licensing Laws: What’s New and Trending
The Question of Rule 68
Calendar
Honor Roll
Healthcare Data at Risk
ACA Members Meet in D.C. to Advocate on Behalf of Industry
Fixing What’s Broken
Credit Listening Considerations
U.S. Supreme Court Hands Collection Industry a Win in ACA-Supported Case
Compliance
ACA SearchPoint
Last Word
Collector - July 2017 - Cover1
Collector - July 2017 - Cover2
Collector - July 2017 - 1
Collector - July 2017 - 2
Collector - July 2017 - Upfront
Collector - July 2017 - Industry News
Collector - July 2017 - 5
Collector - July 2017 - 6
Collector - July 2017 - 7
Collector - July 2017 - Best Practices
Collector - July 2017 - 9
Collector - July 2017 - FYI
Collector - July 2017 - 11
Collector - July 2017 - Collection Tips
Collector - July 2017 - 13
Collector - July 2017 - What’s in Your Policy?
Collector - July 2017 - 15
Collector - July 2017 - 16
Collector - July 2017 - 17
Collector - July 2017 - 18
Collector - July 2017 - 19
Collector - July 2017 - State Licensing Laws: What’s New and Trending
Collector - July 2017 - 21
Collector - July 2017 - 22
Collector - July 2017 - 23
Collector - July 2017 - The Question of Rule 68
Collector - July 2017 - 25
Collector - July 2017 - 26
Collector - July 2017 - 27
Collector - July 2017 - Calendar
Collector - July 2017 - Honor Roll
Collector - July 2017 - Healthcare Data at Risk
Collector - July 2017 - 31
Collector - July 2017 - ACA Members Meet in D.C. to Advocate on Behalf of Industry
Collector - July 2017 - 33
Collector - July 2017 - 34
Collector - July 2017 - 35
Collector - July 2017 - Fixing What’s Broken
Collector - July 2017 - 37
Collector - July 2017 - 38
Collector - July 2017 - 39
Collector - July 2017 - Credit Listening Considerations
Collector - July 2017 - 41
Collector - July 2017 - U.S. Supreme Court Hands Collection Industry a Win in ACA-Supported Case
Collector - July 2017 - 43
Collector - July 2017 - Compliance
Collector - July 2017 - 45
Collector - July 2017 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector - July 2017 - 47
Collector - July 2017 - Last Word
Collector - July 2017 - Cover3
Collector - July 2017 - Cover4
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