During a conversation with a friend (whom I will call Chuck) a couple of weeks ago, I was told yet another story of the callousness of a bill collector. In this case, Chuck feared that he may be laid off from his place of employment and secured an extension agreement on his car note which allowed him to place three payments at the back of a 48 month payment schedule. However, the agreement was not properly placed in the system of the bank which holds the loan by the customer service representative who helped to set up the extension. The result was that Chuck had the unenviable experience of walking out of his apartment building to find that his vehicle was not where he parked it the night before.
When he finally learned that his car was repossessed and not stolen, he promptly called the bank. A different customer service representative, in a very curt tone of voice, told Chuck that his car was repossessed because he failed to make two full payments and that he did not have a payment extension agreement in place. The representative went on to rudely say that had he been more responsible in paying his car note on time, this situation could have been avoided. What the representative did not know, at the time, was that Chuck had documentation to prove that the arrangement was made prior to the repossession. In his moment of frustration and anger, which was a direct result of the representative’s rudeness and lack of concern, Chuck’s inclination was to express words that would be improper for me to write but he chose, instead, to state that he would need to call back because of a “matter that required his immediate attention.” THIS WAS A VERY SMART MOVE!
Frustration and anger often result from interactions with bill collectors who are rude, insensitive, disrespectful and combative or a combination. The best response is to get off of the telephone (not to hang up on the person) rather than saying all that you may feel in that moment, which could make the difference between getting the help that you need rather than getting more of what you do not wish to have. In Chuck’s case, it was not until he spoke to a manger that he was offered an explanation about what happened and an apology for the rude, disrespectful and unprofessional behavior exhibited by the customer service representative. The manager corrected the error and removed the negative activity from Chuck’s credit report. But, the first customer service representative should have done the same. So, if you happen to have a similar encounter, politely get off of the telephone, call back and ask to speak to a manager. This approach will give you time to calm down, regain your composure and get the help that you need. Remember, your job is to make the bill collector your ally, not your enemy.