When people owe your business money, you want to get paid, and you have every right to insist upon it. But (particularly in the consumer context, when the debt was incurred for personal, family, household or—in North Carolina, at least—agricultural purposes) it’s important when communicating with debtors to do so in a way that doesn’t expose you or your business to potential liability. The four guidelines below may not insulate you from all liability, but they are a great place to start:
- In all communications with a debtor (written or oral), always announce that you are a debt collector attempting to collect a debt, and that any information gained will be used for that purpose. You should also always clearly identify who you are and with what entity.
- Always know who is on the other end of the phone. You may not discuss the debt with anyone but the debtor unless you have explicit permission to do so.
- Tell the truth and be nice. Always.
- Never say you are going to take a particular action unless (a) you are legally within your rights to do so, and (b) you actually plan to take it.
If you have questions about collecting your money—and remaining in compliance with all applicable fair debt legislation—call [ask LEGAL].