Protect Your Business and Consumers During National Preparedness Month

Take some time to review your emergency plans for your business as well as collection efforts with consumers and clients.

8/31/2020 1:00 PM

Collector MagazineCOVID-19NewsAdvocacy
Protect Your Business and Consumers During National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, which for the accounts receivable management industry means taking steps to protect your business and reviewing communications policies for connecting with consumers impacted by a natural disaster.

COVID-19, the wildfires in California and the ongoing impact of Hurricane Laura along the Louisiana coastline serve as reminders to regularly review your company’s emergency preparedness plans and best practices for working with consumers and clients on their accounts. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency due to Hurricane Laura, which TCPAWorld reports means restrictions on some calls to consumers.

If you reach a consumer affected by a natural disaster, proceed with compassion, ACA International’s Learning and Development Specialist Angela Czerlanis reports in Collector magazine. Remember under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors cannot call consumers at times known to be inconvenient. For consumers dealing with the impact of a natural disaster, such a time would be a known inconvenience, Czerlanis reports.

In terms of agency operations, keep track of regions that have lost phone or mail service, Czerlanis reports. Collectors may be instructed not to dial telephone numbers that fall within affected area codes or block autodialers from dialing such numbers until further notice.

Keep in mind that after a storm, even if your systems are back up and running and you can restore communication with the outside world, consumers may still be facing power outages or grappling with lost homes, loss of income or costly injuries.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers these tips and resources to protect your business and recover from a natural disaster:

  • Protect your small business by identifying the risks relevant to your location, both natural and man-made. Then, keep your plan of action updated.
  • Preserve your equipment and business records by referencing this IRS guide on protecting your information before an emergency strikes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also offers an emergency preparedness checklist and toolkit.
  • When a disaster hits your small business, first contact FEMA to apply for financial assistance. They can provide money for housing along with other personal expenses, including food, clothing and medicine.

Visit the SBA’s emergency preparedness website for businesses for more resources, including checklists and tips for specific natural disasters as well as managing cybersecurity risks.

Read more tips on communication strategies during a disaster here and Dealing with Weather Emergencies from the FTC here. FEMA also has helpful tools in its How-To Series: Protect Your Home or Business

For more information on how the ACA Licensing staff can assist with your licensing needs, please contact us at Licensing@acainternational.org  or call (952) 926-6547.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

Protect Your Business and Consumers During National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, which for the accounts receivable management industry means taking steps to protect your business and reviewing communications policies for connecting with consumers impacted by a natural disaster.

COVID-19, the wildfires in California and the ongoing impact of Hurricane Laura along the Louisiana coastline serve as reminders to regularly review your company’s emergency preparedness plans and best practices for working with consumers and clients on their accounts. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency due to Hurricane Laura, which TCPAWorld reports means restrictions on some calls to consumers.

If you reach a consumer affected by a natural disaster, proceed with compassion, ACA International’s Learning and Development Specialist Angela Czerlanis reports in Collector magazine. Remember under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors cannot call consumers at times known to be inconvenient. For consumers dealing with the impact of a natural disaster, such a time would be a known inconvenience, Czerlanis reports.

In terms of agency operations, keep track of regions that have lost phone or mail service, Czerlanis reports. Collectors may be instructed not to dial telephone numbers that fall within affected area codes or block autodialers from dialing such numbers until further notice.

Keep in mind that after a storm, even if your systems are back up and running and you can restore communication with the outside world, consumers may still be facing power outages or grappling with lost homes, loss of income or costly injuries.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers these tips and resources to protect your business and recover from a natural disaster:

  • Protect your small business by identifying the risks relevant to your location, both natural and man-made. Then, keep your plan of action updated.
  • Preserve your equipment and business records by referencing this IRS guide on protecting your information before an emergency strikes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also offers an emergency preparedness checklist and toolkit.
  • When a disaster hits your small business, first contact FEMA to apply for financial assistance. They can provide money for housing along with other personal expenses, including food, clothing and medicine.

Visit the SBA’s emergency preparedness website for businesses for more resources, including checklists and tips for specific natural disasters as well as managing cybersecurity risks.

Read more tips on communication strategies during a disaster here and Dealing with Weather Emergencies from the FTC here. FEMA also has helpful tools in its How-To Series: Protect Your Home or Business

For more information on how the ACA Licensing staff can assist with your licensing needs, please contact us at Licensing@acainternational.org  or call (952) 926-6547.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

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