Collector - June 2020 - 14

COLLECTIONTIPS

Don't Get Hooked
Develop an action plan to guard against
call baiting ploys.
By Angela Czerlanis

I

t feels like summer now and at ACA
International's headquarters in
Minnesota, we are enjoying the warmer
days. Although our fishing season is
nearly continuous through icy winters,
it's no surprise that many anglers prefer
a peaceful, relaxing summer day on the
open water.
Like fishing in Minnesota, call baiting
can be a year-round situation for collectors.
That's why watching out for this type of
deceptive behavior from consumers or
unscrupulous plaintiff attorneys should be
on your radar.
Call baiting refers to attempts to "lure" the
collector into violating consumer financial
protection laws like the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act so that the consumer can
potentially file suit against the collection
agency and collect monetary damages.
Remember, the FDCPA allows for actual
damages of $1,000 (typically per action) for
a violation.
In a recent episode of ACA's podcast,
John Bedard Jr., owner of Bedard Law
Group Inc., and Greg Ruffino, director
of training at Williams & Fudge Inc.,
provided tidbits about bait that collectors
may be tempted by on a call. As
agencies become aware of these tactics,
they should develop action plans and
techniques for their staff.

SPEAKER PHONE
Savvy call baiters may have you on
speaker phone so another party-often
an attorney-can coach them. They
are working together to get you to say
something prohibited by the FDCPA. If you

14

hear something fishy in the background,
stay focused and get help with the call.

SCRIPTED LANGUAGE
Does the caller's language sound natural for
the average consumer? If their responses
are canned, robotic or way too technical,
beware. They may be reading off a prepared
script. A script will help the consumer
execute the next few baits.

LEGAL INTERROGATION
There are millions of websites online that
describe how to bait debt collectors. Too many
technical questions about the law can indicate
a consumer is trying to bait you into giving a
false or misleading answer in violation of the
law. Remember, you are not there to provide
legal guidance or answer questions about
how the law works. If you find yourself in this
situation, it's OK to say, "I can't answer that
question" and get help from a supervisor.

REPEAT QUESTIONS
When consumers are never satisfied with
your answers and continue to repeat
questions, getting frustrated could lead you
to give incorrect information, or worse, use
profanity or other inappropriate language.
Calm yourself down to think clearly. Don't
let emotions overtake your professional
thoughts.
If you haven't yet heard ACA's podcast
series, ACA Cast, this is a great time for
you to dive in and check out these bitesized recordings of timely topics. Visit the
ACA Cast page here: www.acainternational.
org/acacast. You can go mobile with ACA
Cast-even at the lake-but we hope
that your very important personal time
refreshes your mind and body so that you
are in top form back on the job.
Angela Czerlanis is ACA International's
learning and development specialist.

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


https://www.acainternational.org/acacast https://www.acainternational.org/acacast http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector - June 2020

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