When you miss payments on your debts, you’re not the only one who gets into trouble. Your creditors, the businesses that you owe money to, also feel the crunch. For every month that you don’t pay, they will lose more and more money. For smaller businesses, this can be devastating.
This is where debt collection agencies come in. When companies find that pursuing you for payments is taking too much time and resources, they turn over your debt to collection agencies. The debt collection agencies usually focus on recovering money from overdue accounts. These agencies collect debts for a certain fee. Sometimes, they offer services in return for a percentage of the debt that they are collecting.
There are two types of debt collection agencies. They are normally classified according to their level of affiliation with the original creditor or lender.
The first type is the first-party agency. Such an agency usually belongs to a subsidiary or a department of the original creditor. For example, if you owe debt to a credit card company, the company may send its own collection agents to collect the amount you owe. Normally, first party agencies act fast. They do not wait for you to have months and months of overdue payments.
Since you are a customer, they want to keep a positive relationship with you. Hence, they will contact you earlier to sort out the debt problem in the most efficient way possible. However, since these are in-house collection agencies, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply to them.
If the first party agency is unsuccessful in collecting the debt, the company will resort to a third party agency. The first party agency normally lets another agency handle the debt if it experiences more than six months of unsuccessful attempts at contacting the debtor. Third party agencies are basically agencies that are NOT in any way involved in the transaction made for the original debt.
These debt collection agencies make an agreement or a contract with the original creditor. The agreement covers the payment methods that the creditor will use to pay for the services of the agency. Since these agencies act as representatives of the original creditor, their actions are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission using the Fair Debt Collection Practices of 1977.
Debt collection agencies act in a very straightforward manner. They begin the debt collection process by contacting the debtor and sending a written document that outlines all the details related to a certain debt. After the initial contact, the debt collection agencies allow a period of 30 days for the debtor to raise concerns regarding the debt that is being collected.
In this instance, the debtor is allowed to argue that the amount of the debt is wrong or that he has made the necessary payments. Debt collection agencies will investigate the claim and the debt collection process will stop while the investigation is being done. When the debt collection agencies have settled the debtors’ claim, they may drop the case or continue collecting the debt.