CNNMoney.com has posted an interesting article where 10 former debt collectors were interviewed to share their experiences in the collections industry…and why they chose to leave it. We will turn this into a sequence of 5 blog posts and highlight 2 former collectors in each post.
Mel Harsh, the first debt collector, admits that he was “absolutely ruthless” when he first started out as a debt collector and would even resort to using blind threats to intimidate people. He says that he thought being aggressive was the only way to succeed in that industry, and then he began to enjoy being so authoritative. He says he later realized that if someone owes his collection agency money, then they probably also owe several other companies money and he chose to soften his approach to be nicer, but will still sue people because “it’s part of the job.”
At the time of this interview, Harsh had one week left as a debt collector. He said he was leaving the industry because, although the money was excellent, “I’m sick of all the agony I put people through.”
Alexis Moore, another former collector, says that collectors in the agency where she worked were asked to break the law everyday and if you didn’t, “you were asked what was wrong with you.” She engaged in law-breaking practices such as calling late at night and faxing a person’s workplace regarding their debt. If someone didn’t take their calls, she would call their neighbors and ask them to stick notices on the debtor’s door telling them to contact the agency immediately.
She says they were encouraged to harass people, because while it was illegal, it got results. Moore says that there were contests to see which collector could make the most people cry during the workday, and she overheard one collector threaten someone over the phone in Spanish that they were going to send someone to his house to beat him with a tire iron.
Moore was a debt collector for ten years and is currently the founder and President of a non-profit advocacy group for people who have been victims of crimes such as cyber-stalking and identity theft.
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