Much like anything there are the bad ones, and the good ones.  This rings true for Doctors, Lawyers, Construction workers, salesmen, pilots, mortgage brokers, actors, plumbers, and even priests (you get the idea).  I want to help educate you on how to spot the bad guys when choosing a collection agency.

I have been in the Accounts Receivable Management and Collections business for 15 years.  I have worked for some of the most prestigious lenders, and professional service firms in the country; the world for that matter.  Having done a ton of successful work for these clients, on behalf of other companies I was employed by, I set out to create a professional recovery firm that would REALLY address the needs of it's clients with the utmost integrity, results, and professionalism.  Someone  professionals would enjoy working along side of.

I saw plenty of room for improvement at some of these organizations I came across in my time, which was a primary reason I knew I could be successful in my own consulting firm, what is now Cambridge Receivable Solutions.  While we are not a traditional "collection agency" we do perform recovery functions for our exclusive client base, and many times are lumped in to the "debt collector" category in people's minds.  We are a small, specialized team of highly experienced negotiators with great personal and professional reputations.  The reason for this blog today, as the title states, is because I realize there are quite a few companies out there giving Collection agencies a bad name.

Today as I was googling some keywords and checking up on our Search Engine Optimization, I did some research on some of the other "companies" in the top search results.  Many of these firms are quite frankly fly by night operations.  This is something I have continually noticed as I looked into some of these agencies who have better search results than us!  They are guilty of everything from harassing tactics to not remitting funds to clients as agreed, to flat out running off with funds recovered!  This is very disturbing to me as someone who runs an ethical, efficient, law abiding, and transparent recovery company.

In my extensive research there are some reputable firms, like us, who you can tell really go out of there way to perform quality work.  Kudos to them.  However, on the flip side there are so many problem agencies out there.
I want to give you some tips when choosing a collection agency.

-Google their exact name. See what's on the first 5-10 pages+.

-Google their name with the word "complaints" after it.  Many of the top suggested search results for these companies include the word "complaints" after them for good reason.  Look into these claims, if they are serious, and not responded to by a representative of their organization, steer clear of that company.  That being said people who are contacted by collectors often have a bruised ego and will lash out because of that.  Try to get a feel for the validity of the claims, bring them up to whomever you talk to and see if they have a logical explanation.  Again, especially where they have high volume business, with clients prone to disputes, you will see complaints that don't necessary speak to the overall ethics of the company.

-Look on social media sites.  Social media is not the greatest deal for most collection companies.  However, most reputable companies these days will have a Manta, LinkedIn, Twitter, or similar site where you can read about the company and at least a person or two involved in the company. You should see an active and consistent pattern of visibility.  A good feel for their online presence says a ton.  The ones who stand out as cocky, greasy, sleazy scammers, will typically stick out like a sore thumb.

-Listen to the atmosphere in the background of your calls with them.  Does it sound like you are talking to an inmate at a federal prison?  Tons of noise, laughing, coughing, or worse?  Your talking to sales, imagine what the collection floor sounds like.  Move on.

-Make sure there are no valid or unaddressed complaints with the BBB.  Most major red flags will be uncovered with a simple google search though.  Obviously a bad rating or no response to complaints is a major no no.

-Get specific.  Ask specific questions, explain your expectations, explain what you expect from them and like anything "buyer beware" is crucial.

Having professional help to ensure timely payment is a must for most business.  I encourage you to seek professional help for your company in this category, because it is a very valuable and untapped asset.  It's something you can't duplicate in house, just like an attorney, or CPA.  You need a specialist to ensure the best results. Having past due payments is bad enough, you don't want to compound the problem with an absent or unethical agency.

Best of luck to all the organizations out there looking for help in maximizing their cash flow and profits.  If you are a sleazy company, you may need a sleazy collector, and more power to you if that's the case.  We will let the Attorney General sort you out.  If you are a professional organizaton who wants to maximize your profits, and recover what you have earned the right way, have a look at our website and give us a call for an in depth consultation.  We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to handle each case with a fact based approach.  We encourage communication, gather the facts, and ensure the best possible outcome; getting you paid with no further hassle.  Happy hunting!

Jason Lindsey
President and Principal Consultant
Cambridge Receivable Solutions, LLC

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