Bill-Collector Confidential

by Steve Katz and George Trinkaus
Ch. 1, How Creditors Try to Collect

What is your hot button?

... The collector will make a psychological study of you and take notes on each phone session, which he will refer to the next time he calls. He is trained to identify your hot-button, the one action that you fear most.

If he senses a credit-rating anxiety, he'll say your score is going down the tubes. If he senses fear of the courtroom, he'll make it sound like the judge is sitting right next to him.

The 60-day desk and the 90-day desk may gang up on you in a good-cop-bad-cop shakedown. One will settle for your bringing the account current, the other for nothing less than payment in full.

A professional agent is not supposed to make a specific threat if he does not sincerely intend to live up to it, but this does not deter the boiler-room collector who tries to conjure terror in your soul.

As with many corporate functionaries, the collector calling you may have little authority, a frustration. He may not be authorized to negotiate. He may only parrot narrow instructions from his boss.

Collection telephoning is sometimes out-sourced to India, etc. The off-shore telephone collector has little knowledge of collection laws and procedures in the USA. He is sure to be merely a message taker.

You already know the message to leave: "Next Tuesday."

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