There is no shortage of negative anecdotes about consumers who have been intimidated or harmed in some way by rogue collectors. Unfortunately, due to the proliferation of scams and others who see debt collection as an easy target, it seems this may be unavoidable.

However, what isn’t published is that in the majority of actual interactions between consumers and debt collectors, accounts get resolved, and stress is reduced. Here are just three examples:

I finally answered the phone and I was glad I did. Through the course of the conversation with Dave, we recognized that I was not the Mark Smith they were looking for. They took me out of their system and the calls stopped.

I wanted to pay off this account but I just didn’t see how I could do it. Charlie helped me to find options other than filing for bankruptcy, or getting a title loan. If I lost my car, I couldn’t get to work, which would make things even worse.

I was paralyzed. I was getting so many calls and I just didn’t know what to do. The conversation I had with Debbie was so helpful. She really listened to me and helped me start to move forward. Now, instead of burying my head in the sand, I feel like I’ve got some control.

Many people have been able to directly address past due accounts, including reducing monthly payments, changing payment dates, identifying fraud, and more.

While it is certainly very important for consumers to know their rights as they relate to debt collection, and there is no disputing that every consumer should be treated with respect, what is also true is that avoiding a collectors’ calls or letters does not make the situation go away. Avoidance can lead to negative credit reporting consequences, law suits, and more stress.

Legitimate debt collection firms invest heavily in training and compliance with the law. Contrary to what is typically reported, most collectors do not buy debts for pennies on the dollar. They are hired by the companies with which consumers have a relationship: hospitals, doctors, utilities, banks, credit card companies, wireless phone companies, etc. Even though the collector may not be chosen by the consumer, they absolutely have an incentive to provide her with a positive customer experience – otherwise they will be fired by their client, and/or the client will lose a customer for life. Neither organization wants this.

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