Tag Archives: debt collection

DIY Collections – Don’t Risk It!

11 Sep

There are very clear rules about what can and can’t be said during debt collections.

The debt collection industry is governed by so many rules and regulations it could make your head spin. That’s why do-it-yourself debt collections can quickly get a company into hot water with state and federal regulators.

What are the rules that govern debt collections? What are debt collection agents never allowed to say and do? This article explores common mistakes businesses make when attempting DIY debt collections.

Bill Collector

Debt Collections No No’s

Three things you can never say when attempting debt collection:

  • Threaten to tell a boss, coworkers, or family about a past due balance. While you can contact work to try to find the customer, never share details about the debt to any third party.
  • Threaten to arrest the past due customer.
  • Don’t say, “I’ll just keep calling you.” Legally, you can’t call the person before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm. If you call the customer at work and they ask you to stop calling there, you have to comply, however, the request must be in writing.

Understanding the rules means following federal legislation called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the guidelines set by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Understanding debt collection rules is important for avoiding federal and state penalties.

If all this seems like a lot of rules for you to keep track of, you would be right. Debt collections are a highly regulated activity that makes it risky to take a DIY approach.

The good news is that there are services like TSI to help ensure debt recovery that complies with all rules and regulations. Our proven system is compliant, effective, and guaranteed.

Bonus Tip:

Various government agencies provide guidelines that help ensure that consumer rights are protected. There are specific practices that collectors must always avoid.  

Debt collectors cannot use unfair practices to collect a debt. This means debt collection practice can never include the following [Do not]:

  • Attempt to collect charges in addition to the debt. That is, unless they are allowed by contract or specific state law.
  • Deposit a post-dated check early.
  • Communicate by postcard.
  • Use language or a symbol on the envelope of a letter that indicates the correspondence is from a debt collector.

Consumers have rights that must be honored, which is why strict guidelines and regulations govern debt recovery practices. Not only is it essential that debt collectors treat consumers with respect, in addition, there are specific practices that collectors must always avoid. For instance, did you know that an individual can send a “cease and desist” correspondence to a debt collector – which means the debt collector is required to stop contacting the customer. The problem stems from an overly aggressive debt collector that goes after the customer over and over again in a short amount of time. Under federal law, this is considered harassment and if the activity continues after the cease and desist letter is received, the customer can report the debt collector to governing agencies.

Want higher recovery of past due accounts? Don’t put your business at risk by using a DIY approach; instead, put TSI’s simple system to work for your business. It’s convenient and designed with small- and mid-sized businesses in mind, AND interfaces directly with most accounting and practice management software.

Contact me for more information on how to:
  • Collect more of your A/R
  • Collect your A/R faster
  • Stay 100% compliant while collecting your A/R
  • Save both staff time and money

5 Things to Avoid When Collecting Debt From Customers

22 Aug

Before conducting debt collections, make sure you understand the do’s and don’ts of the industry.

The do’s and don’ts of collecting debt are a sticky wicket. If you do it wrong, you can alienate potential customers, ruin your reputation, and maybe even pick up a hefty fine from regulators. Playing by the rules means compliance with all laws, certainly, but also collecting debt in a way that treats every customer with dignity and respect.

Here are five things to avoid when collecting debt from customers.

Do Not Try This at Home – or at the Office

debt-collector-angry-call-monster

We’ve heard all the horror stories from collections gone awry. Industry publications such as Inside ARM often report on companies fined by regulators for breaking collection regulations. Our biggest complaint, beyond the fact that these techniques are generally not effective, is that conducting yourself in this manner gives the collections industry a bad reputation. Not good!

The best course of action is to partner with a professional collection agency like TSI. But just in case you plan to give debt recovery on your own a try, here are some things that should never be part of your DIY debt collection strategy:

  1. Don’t stalk your customers. Really! This means you (or the debt collector for that matter) cannot show up at someone’s workplace and demand they pay you. The law also prohibits you from publicizing the debt, too, so even though you want to go on Facebook call out someone that owes you money – don’t. Here is the caveat: You may, respectfully, call the customer at work but you cannot let the other workers know that you’re trying to collect on a debt. Plus, if the customer asks you to not call them at work, you legally must comply.
  2. Don’t harass your customers. See #1. But actions such as repeated calls, threats of violence, and extreme language are not only bad form, they’re illegal too. For a small business owner, it feels personal when someone doesn’t pay. But conducting yourself in a professional way will pay off in the long run.

There are rules about pursuing debt collections – make sure you follow them.

  1. You can’t arrest the debtor. Sorry, we know this may not feel fair, but if a customer is 90-days past due, you cannot call 911 for help. However, there may be legal actions you can take in certain circumstances.
  2. You cannot pursue the debtor for things they don’t owe. This happens a lot when the data you have on the customer is inaccurate. So many times we see that the person already paid the debt but the information wasn’t logged properly. A simple mistake can land you in hot water, so use caution and double-check the facts before pursuing a debt.
  3. You cannot call at odd hours of the day and night. Did you know there are rules that state you can only call a past-due customer between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm? For small business owners that work hard all day, this means just because you’re up at 7:30 am you can’t squeeze in a few collections calls.

If you’re worried about running afoul of the rules of collecting debt, you don’t need to.

Source: TSI

Contact me today at 888-780-1333, and I’ll show you how to collect more money, cut costs, and stay 100% compliant with all of the many laws and regulations that relate to debt collection.

After all…it’s your money!  Keep more of it!!

How Debt Collection Affects Revenue Cycle in Healthcare

2 Apr

medical-debtDebt collection is a hot topic in healthcare revenue cycle circles. That’s because hospitals are facing higher costs, declining reimbursement, along with high-deductible insurance policies and patients that simply cannot afford to pay.

This article looks at how debt collection best practices could improve the revenue cycle in healthcare. What are the issues affecting debt in healthcare?

Debt Collection and Medical Billing 

Medical billing serves at the core of healthcare revenue cycle. But Rev Cycle Intelligence points out the elephant in the room: Medical billing is often riddled with errors.

Simple mistakes in the patient billing record are a challenge in the revenue cycle. Collecting patient information at the front desk lays the reimbursement framework that every revenue cycle is built upon.

When you cull out simple human mistakes, providers are still left with the complexities inherent in billing practices that are unique to every payer. That alone creates glitches in clinical cash flow when reimbursements are submitted and rejected by the payer.

Another problem with medical billing is tied to the healthcare paradigm itself. It is a patchwork of disparate providers – even within a single health system. If the steps to getting paid hinge upon a previous interaction, but documentation are peppered with missing pieces, the likelihood of that provider being reimbursed by a payer drops with every missed checkbox.

A frequent issue that occurs well before the bill is generated is the issue of collecting a patient’s co-pay. Even when the co-pay is $20, the medical practitioner at the front desk may fail to collect it. For clinical administrators, it can be difficult to ask for payment from a sick patient. Now imagine the struggles when a patient has a $2,000 deductible. But failing to collect this revenue up front does nothing to alleviate patient responsibility for their bill. In fact, it almost certainly guarantees the need for debt collection later. Rev Cycle Intelligence states that 90% of the 12.7 million Americans participating in 2016’s open enrollment had high deductible insurance.

InsideARM has been waving a red flag around this issue, citing statistics that say, “The percentage of consumers not paying their total hospital bills will increase to 95 percent by 2020.” Even worse news for hospital revenue cycle, the volume of patients who are only paying a part of their overall hospital bill has declined from around 90 percent in 2015 to 77 percent in 2016.

As bad debt rises, healthcare providers are turning to debt collection agencies to help save their revenue cycle.

Debt Collection Improves Healthcare Revenue Cycle

TSI specializes in debt collection in the healthcare space. With over 45+ years of healthcare collection experience, we use an empathetic approach to collections to protect the patient relationships you’ve worked hard to cultivate. We understand the delicacy inherent in keeping patient satisfaction scores high while still collecting on an unpaid medical debt. That’s why we’ve invested in technology that can help us collect on all bad debt in ways that acknowledge and respond to patient payment preferences across multiple digital venues as well as through more traditional formats.

In addition, our proprietary data analytics platform, CollectX boosts your results by identifying the most liquid accounts and ensuring they receive the appropriate collections activity. Since implementation of CollectX, our clients have seen on average a 22% lift to their liquidation rates. Maintain your patient relationships, while improving your revenue cycle, with TSI.

To learn more about how to optimize your revenue, contact me today at 888-780-1333 or at david.wiener@cashflowstrategies.us.

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