received a letter from Jenni about Chris Peruzzi's article, Bad
Customer Service. Turns out that Jenni is a bill collector.
I found her comments to be quite interesting in that you can get an
insight into the thinking of the typical bill/debt
collector. I included my remarks for added entertainment.
Jenni: "I am a bill collector.
What a lot of people forget is that what we do is our job."
I don't think anyone
forgets that it's her 'job.' Jenni's collection victims also have
"We do not come to your office and cuss you out because you
wanted an 8:00 meeting. Under the FDCPA (fair debt collection
practices act) we are legally allowed to call from 8:00 am until
9:00 pm your local time."
Of course Jenni didn't
come to our office and cuss. It sounds like she would, if she could, which
is why the law limits their contact.
Jenni: "But where I work, we
start calling at 7:00 am our time. Do you think that I really want
to be pleasant at that time?"
Does Jenni think the people she's
calling are going to be pleasant at that time?
Jenni: "One of my biggest
problems is that we are constantly mistaken for telemarketers/customer
service. We are far from that. Our job is not to make you happy, but
to make our client happy."
Well Jenni, obviously you're not
making us happy, so don't be so surprised when people hang up on
Jenni: "We don't always know
what is going on though. That is why we call. We were hired to find
out why there is a past due bill with you and our client. Give us a
break. You do your job, and we will do ours."
I don't think Jenni
knows why she's hired. Her job is to collect, not to 'find out why.'
That's why the job title is Debt Collector not Debt
Jenni: "Also, remember this; we
want to get it cleared up just as badly as you do. So allow us to
help you dispute things properly if you feel that there is something
wrong with the bill. Hanging up and cussing us out does not make us
want to help you."
Jenni assumes that
people want her 'help' to clear things up. She doesn't want to help,
she wants to collect.
Jenni: "Do you really want
something on your credit that could have been avoided?"
More than likely,
something is already on the person's credit report
because the account is in collection. It cannot be avoided at this
Jenni: "You are an adult. So act
like one. If you don't want us to call at 8:00 am, politely tell us
to call you after noon. We will be more than happy to. And don't
insult our intellegence."
If Jenni could spell
'intelligence' it would make it more difficult for people to insult
her. The best advice to get Jenni to stop calling is to politely
ask for her address and then send a letter demanding that her
company cease calling.
Jenni: "I am a 20 year old
college student working my way thru just like anyone else. At least I
have the manners and maturity to handle things like an adult. Think
about that one."
I thought about it, and I
think Jenni doesn't understand the situations that real adults, not
adults by age, have on their plate. Situations like multiple jobs,
children, mortgage payments...life!
The following remarks are from
Chris Peruzzi, author of Bad
"As a former help desk rep, a
management reporter, and (currently) a quality control exec, my
expertise in this particular matter spans over 14 years for a
fortune five hundred company. I have a bachelor's of science degree
in marketing research with focus on consumer behavior.
From a point of view of operating
within the confines of world class service. The examples I've made
within my article are quite nightmarish. If it is the function of a
bill collector to harass people in the wee hours of the evening or
the early morning (please consider the time zones when calling) then
they are worthy of my full unadulterated wrath.
The point of any phone call should
not be to harass.
Should I get a phone call from a bill
collector or any kind of corporate bulldog, he or she should be
prepared to actually resolve a problem. If a check has been sent,
and the bill collector does not have it in their files, the correct
response is to either say, "Our records as of (this date) do
not show payment. When and how did you send payment?" or
"I can check now to see if the payment has arrived. How did you
A bill collector should be able to
accommodate a user with alternative methods of payment. If I should
get a call from a bill collector, and I don't have the money at the
moment, perhaps the collection agency can create a progressive plan
for payment. The company gets its money, and the bill payer may be
more amicable on the next go around.
Also, in my wife's case, her phone
conversation had been recorded. This seems to be more and more
popular in corporations - especially those that use the politically
incorrect method of shipping their customer service jobs offshore to
India. Management should be keeping a wary eye on how their business
is conducted and the image they are projecting when people using
their name are calling their "clients". In the case of
credit card companies, remember, new cards with low APR's come out
frequently. Should the consumer have a choice of acquiring a new
card, they can punish that bill collector - especially in the case
of a misunderstanding that can be exacerbated by an impolite or
stupid bill collector.
Because my wife's conversation was
recorded and reviewed, the impolite bill collector met with an
appropriate end to a career that was probably going to go nowhere.
Remember: Time wounds all