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H.S. Diploma
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What is a Bill and Account Collector?

Also known as: Overdue Bill Collector, Collection Agent, Debt Collector, Bill Collector.

A bill and account collector, sometimes called a collection agent, is someone who tries to recover payment on overdue bills. They negotiate repayment plans with debtors and help them find solutions to make paying their overdue bills easier. Many bill and account collectors work in a call centre for a third-party collection agency rather than the original creditor.

What does a Bill and Account Collector do?

A bill and account collector will generally contact debtors by phone, although sometimes they do so by mail. They use computer systems to update contact information and record past collection attempts with a particular debtor. Keeping these records can help collectors with future negotiations.

A bill and account collector will typically do the following:

  • Find consumers and businesses who have overdue bills
  • Track down consumers who have an out-of-date address by using the internet, post office or credit bureau - a process called “skip tracing”
  • Inform debtors that they have an overdue bill and try to negotiate a payment
  • Go over the terms of sale or contract with the debtor, when necessary
  • Learn the reasons for the overdue bills, which can help with the negotiations
  • Offer credit advice or refer a consumer to a debt counselor, when appropriate

The main job of a bill and account collector is to find a solution that is acceptable to the debtor and maximizes payment to the creditor. Listening to the debtor and paying attention to his or her concerns can help the collector negotiate a solution. After the collector and debtor agree on a repayment plan, the collector continually checks to ensure that the debtor pays on time. If the debtor does not pay, the collector submits a statement to the creditor, who can then take legal action. In extreme cases, this legal action may include taking back goods or disconnecting service.

Collectors must follow federal and local laws that govern debt collection. They usually have goals they are expected to meet. Typically, these include calls per hour and success rates.

What is the workplace of a Bill and Account Collector like?

Many bill and account collectors work in a call centre for a third-party collection agency rather than the original creditor. Some work in-house for the original creditor, such as a credit card company or a health care provider. The day-to-day activities of in-house collectors are generally the same as those of other collectors.

How can I become a Bill and Account Collector?

Bill and account collectors must usually have a high school diploma and experience in a call centre. A few months of on-the-job training is common. Some employers prefer applicants who have taken some college courses. Communication, accounting, and basic computer courses are examples of classes that are helpful for entering this occupation.

Collectors usually get one to three months of on-the-job training after being hired. Training includes learning the company’s policies and computer software, and learning the laws for debt collection in their jurisdiction, as well as the any local debt collection regulations. If they do not have experience, they may also be trained in how to negotiate.

When trying to negotiate a repayment plan, collectors must pay attention to what debtors say. Learning the particular situation of the debtors and how they fell into debt can help collectors suggest solutions. Reconciling the differences between two parties (the debtor and the creditor) and offering a solution that is acceptable to both parties are the main aspects of a collector’s job. Collectors must be able to speak to debtors to explain their choices and ensure that they fully understand what is being said.



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Further Reading

  • A Debt Collector’s Day

    NOBODY likes debt collectors. But a great many of us have to deal with them. A recent study by the Urban Institute found that roughly one-third of all Americans have a debt in collections reported on their credit file. For many debtors, that means being called, hounded and even threatened on a regular basis. But what’s it like to be the collector?

  • A Day in the Life of a Debt Collector

    While many would like to believe debt collectors are criminals, thugs and drug addicts, the majority of the 369,000 employees of the debt collection industry are in fact our neighbours and friends, grandparents and single parents, youth sports coaches and PTO volunteers.

  • My Life As A Bill Collector

    Being a bill collector is like any other customer service job. Your job is to help people pay their bills when they become past due.

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