Debt Collection: 'Nice People' Strategy Yields More for Firm

One debt collection operation is boasting about a “revolutionary” approach to higher recoveries: just be nice to consumers.
In its first five months of implementation, Baltimore-based Access Receivables said its  “Nice People Collect More” debt recovery strategy has yielded a 40 percent increase over average collections previously established.
Undoubtedly, this strategy is starkly different than the practices of countless debt collectors, many whom have become targets of the Federal Trade Commission.
Over the past year, the commission said it has brought or resolved seven debt collection cases affecting hundreds of thousands of consumers, the highest number of such cases the agency has taken on during a single year.
The FTC said it has stepped up enforcement of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by cracking down on collectors who used abusive or misleading tactics to intimidate consumers. Some actually threaten consumers with harm to them or their pets, the FTC said.
In its 2012 report to Congress, the FTC stated that complaints about debt collection practices jumped nearly 20 percent in 2011.
Access Receivables President Tom Gillespie said his firm’s account managers are thoroughly trained to develop relationships with debtors and help them resolve their credit issues. Moreover, the number of accounts requiring litigation has dropped substantially, he said.
The 40 percent increase in collection is measured from Nov. 1, 2011, when the strategy was fully implemented, through March 31, 2012. The numbers represent the average increase in collection payments, compared to averages established before Nov. 1, or historic averages.
“We did this for the benefit of our clients, our debtor customers, and of course, for our own benefit,” said Gillespie. “But we’re already seeing responsible companies in the debt collection business observing our actions and taking their own steps to make the collection experience a win-win for the debtor and the client.”
The firm said it carries out reinforced monitoring and recording of phone calls to “continually improve the process.”

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