For those of you who don’t know, I used to be a debt collector. Oh, the irony! A former debt collector who himself was in debt. While I wasn’t in debt when I was a debt collector, that didn’t stop me from getting into credit card debt afterward. Now to be fair, I was a mortgage debt collector, not credit cards. Either way, I get the irony and you are most likely making a face at me. Oh well!
Another fun fact is my debt collecting tenure was right as the housing market was reaching its peak. I got to witness the insanity involved between the banks and the borrowers. It taught me a lot about mortgages, but not much about carrying around too much debt. I still look back to that job as an awesome way to learn about the housing market. I took those lessons and applied them to our first house. We bought well under what we could afford and that helped us though the entire downturn. Still, though there were a few good things from being a debt collector, I witnessed many things I was not proud of.
Having a Hard Time Paying?
Well, since I was a debt collector, I mostly dealt with delinquent borrowers. Not all were late on their bills, but most. Either way, I ran across a few people that really did have an uphill battle. I felt sorry for them, but my job was not to try and help them. Actually, if I did try, I would get reprimanded. Since I am naturally a helper, this was tough for me. I had answers for a few of my worst clientele, but I wasn’t allowed to help them. Why so? The company I worked for wanted their money and would try to extract it in any way possible. Our mitigation department would make it so hard for borrowers really far behind that it would make them just give up. You could call in any time you wanted to try and work out a plan, but they had no interest in doing so. If you had a hard time, the company didn’t give a crap.
If We Don’t Reach You, We Will Call Again and Again and…
Again! We were allowed to call any number we had for the borrower once per hour every day. Yes, that is every day, seven days a week. We only had to follow a simple rule of keeping the calls from 8AM to 9PM local time for the borrower. Oh what fun it was to call someone at 8AM on a Saturday or even Sunday for that matter. You are instantly on their bad side and you mostly likely just got hung up on or cursed at. I really didn’t like my Saturday work schedule, but they paid the most in my college town.
There were many times when I could really see the borrower was struggling. I had been a collector for three years. After some time, you can really see when someone is trying to make ends meet, but just can’t. We can see all of their financials and the like. Either way, when my dialer would call up their number, I would have to “make” contact with the borrower. We had to talk with them. Once we actually confirmed it was them, we would go through the call. For those people really bad off, I would tell them I could hold off the collection calls for three days. While it is not much, imaging getting calls every hour, every day. It can be exhausting.
While I would get into serious trouble for doing this, I never really liked how the company handled collections. It was ruthless and they didn’t follow their own guidelines most of the time. I would tell some borrowers to just answer the phone, verify their identity, then hang up. Since we actually verified it was them, we had to put it in as such into the system. When that was the case, the automated dialing system would have to wait three days to redial that borrower. We could have been fired for doing this, but I didn’t care. Some people just needed help.
Do you want to know more truths about my debt collection days and what I witnessed? Head over to DailyFinance and check it out!
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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