Having never worked in a debt collection agency, it’s sometimes hard to imagine what really goes on. In fact, for many it’s a surprise that you are just a number on a wall board (although you sometimes feel more like a criminal).
The collector has a daily quota. Most collection agencies have the big white board on the wall with a daily quota and who has reached what level. It’s equivalent to the gold star system you had growing up when you finished your homework or did your chores. The more money the collector brings in, the more gold stars he/she gets on the board (and those who don’t perform well find themselves receiving a pink slip).
If you think that’s where it ends, you’re wrong. These collectors also get monthly bonuses. There is typically a number of checks to be handed – e.g., the top 10 collectors. The manager – who makes this seem like a party – starts with #10 and works his way to #1. The top collector can liteally make $100 to $12,000+ for that month’s activities. This is on top of regular pay and benefits. Now these top earning collectors – sometimes called “floor collectors” have quotas from $4,000 to $6,000+ per month. As a result, they are the ones eligible for the top bonuses.
Remember that the collectors goal is to get as much money today, during a single call, as possible. Good collectors know what they can roughly expect to get based upon a variety of factors.
- What debts you are current on? For example, if your mortgage is up-to-date, then you have some responsible aspects and aren’t a dead beat.
- How much debt have you been racking up over the past few months? If there a lot of credit cards with growing balances, a collector can use this his/her advantage. Imaging the conversation. “Mrs. Jones, you owe us $562. Yet I see that last month you charged over $900 to one credit card alone. Your obligation is to pay off the debts you owe before incurring more debt. I can take your credit card as payment today.” Talk about being caught off guard. You knew that the collect knew something about the debt; however, you never expected it to be about your entire life.
- Do you have any income coming your way? Around income tax time, people use tax preparation services that give you your refund today. What they do to ensure they get their money is check your credit report to see your risk factor. This check appears and a collector can see this and instantly know that you have a tax return refund. Again, the collector will mention this to you, all for leverage to get the money you owe to their client.
Of course, there are far more tactics they can use to see how they can get money from you to reach their quota.
What can you do? This is a pretty daring one; however, if you want to resolve the debt, ask the collector how much has to collected to meet the quota for the day. This collector will play dumb – as if they don’t know what you’re talking about. In reality, however, you’ve just taken the upper hand in negotiations. You might find that if you were willing to pay $100 and the collector only needs $75, you could keep $25 in your pocket – for now!