From Collector: A Piece Apart
How to negotiate payment arrangements that satisfy both parties.
4/13/2018 8:00 AM
Payment in full: It’s the ultimate goal of any debt collection conversation. While most debt collection agencies—and their clients—expect collectors to request the balance in full at least one time in each conversation with a consumer, securing that amount is not always a realistic option. You’ll need to develop a strategy to successfully negotiate payment plans, Collector magazine editor Anne Rosso May reports in the April issue.
For instance, if the consumer tells you she is a single parent, one of her children is in the hospital and she’s out of work, you most likely would not expect to receive payment in full on a large balance—but you do want to set up the best payment arrangement possible under the circumstances.
Before you propose a payment arrangement, you need to understand the consumer’s current financial situation and why they can’t pay. Ask open-ended questions to find out as much as you can about the consumer’s financial options, and review the account information to glean other relevant details.
It’s important that you accurately understand what’s going on so you don’t set the consumer up with an unrealistic payment arrangement—leaving all parties disappointed and frustrated, Rosso May reports.
Read more tips on payment arrangements and working with consumers in the April issue of Collector magazine.
The key is to not let a payment arrangement go without checking back with the consumer on a schedule that you’ve both agreed to at the outset. You can always work with consumers to adjust the terms of the arrangement if their financial circumstances improve at a later date.
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