Professional collectors are not the debtor’s enemies, but his assistants in the process of getting out of a difficult life situation. What collectors can and cannot, and how to interact with them to get rid of debt?
The activities of the collectors are surrounded by a mass of myths circulated by public figures and the media. Very often, under the guise of collectors, unidentified persons communicate with debtors using illegal practices and undermining the reputation of professional debt collection agencies. Meanwhile, «white» collection agencies conduct their activities in accordance with 230-FZ, which sets out in detail their rights and obligations.
So how to deal with collectors? What to do, if:
1. You do not want to pay off the debt.
It is impossible to get rid of debt by avoiding negotiations with collectors. The collection agency, which is in the register of the FSSP, has legal grounds to negotiate with debtors and carry out collection activities. All permissible parameters of interaction between the collector and the debtor are detailed in 230-FZ, including the number and frequency of calls, messages and personal meetings..
The law gave the collectors the right to:
- meet with you in person, but no more than once a week;
- call, but not more than twice a week;
- send no more than four messages per week;
- inform you about the debt only at certain times (on weekdays – from 08:00 to 22:00, on weekends – from 09:00 to 20:00).
If the listed actions turned out to be ineffective, a professional collector has the right to initiate a lawsuit demanding to pay off the debt, as well as accompany the case at the stage of enforcement proceedings.
– Collectors always try to resolve the issue in such a way that the debtor is comfortable and easy to close his debt, – says a board member of the National Association of Professional Collection Agencies (NAPKA), head of the GAPKA Committee on Agency Business Victor Semenduev. – In case collectors call you, try to negotiate with them and find solutions to close all debts. Try also to get a discount, negotiate an installment plan.
2. Anti-collectors offer their services.
Companies and individuals who call themselves debtor lawyers or anti-collectors assure debtors that they will help reduce or get rid of debt entirely for a small fee..
– Our fellow citizens have an eternal hope for a miracle. For some reason we think that the existing problem can itself «dissolve», – argues an independent member of the NAPCA council Alexander Morozov. – Money – the thing is very realistic, and there is no need to talk about any miracle.
Antikollektors enter into a formal agreement with you, which, however, does not contain any guarantees. In words, the debtor is promised a quick and complete recovery from problems. Debtors position themselves as experienced loan officers. In fact, the debtor receives only consulting services. Debt in the vast majority of cases is not written off or even reduced. Of course, no one returns money for consultations.
– You should not turn to anti-collectors in the hope that they will save you from debt. Their task – get money. Will your debt decrease or not – not their concern, – warn in NAPKA.
While the debtor resorts to such dubious methods «deliverance» from debts, due to penalties and fines accrued by the lender (bank, MFO), the amount of his debt continues to increase.
Urgency, chargeability and repayment – the basic principles of the loan agreement, which must be observed, reminds Alexander Morozov. By turning to anti-collectors, debtors contribute to the development of a fraudulent, shadow market for quasi-legal services, exacerbating their financial situation. Only the creditor can write off or reduce the debt – primary or secondary. Primary lenders include banks and MFOs, secondary – collection agencies to which debts are transferred.
– The only reason to ask for help – if you see any errors in the calculations and the lender does not meet you halfway. Or it seems to you that they communicate with you incorrectly, humiliate your human dignity, – says Alexander Morozov.
In such situations, NAPKA recommends using the service «Welcome to complain».
3. Collectors threaten with court.
Going to court with a demand to pay off a debt – collection agency legal right. As a rule, the court in such cases takes the side of the plaintiff. Legal costs are added to the amount owed. When the decision has already been made – the case is transferred to the FSSP. To collect debts, bailiffs apply a set of measures in relation to debtors: they restrict travel abroad, withhold up to 50% from wages and social benefits, make an inventory of property, etc. It is unprofitable for the debtor to bring the situation to this, but it is beneficial to resolve the issue out of court.
– If the collector fails to agree with the client, with the debtor – then he is obliged to go to court, otherwise he will suffer lost profits, – explains a member of the NAPCA council Pavel Mikhmel. – If the judicial machine turns on, it is expensive, unpleasant and time-consuming. The consequences can be the seizure of property, the seizure of accounts and the rise in the cost of debt repayment. It’s better not to bring it to court.
4. You paid off the debt, but the collectors claim the opposite.
With any such call, it is worth maintaining a constructive dialogue: find out the full name of the employee and the company he represents. Then ask what kind of debt you are concerned about. If the loan is fully repaid, it is enough to provide the collector with a copy or scan of the loan closing certificate. Help missing? You need to make a request to the credit bureau and find out the details of the formation of debt. If even the minimum payment remained outstanding (for example, 1 ruble), the creditor could continue to accrue interest and fines, and then sell the debt to a collection agency. The law in this case is completely on his side. All that remains is to negotiate with the collector about individual conditions and a convenient debt repayment schedule. In the future, having paid the entire debt in full, always ask for a certificate of repayment of the loan / loan.
5. Collectors are behaving illegally.
First, make sure that the collection agency calls you, information about which is in the FSSP register. If the agency is not on this list, you can safely file a complaint with NAPKA, the FSSP and law enforcement agencies.
If an agency is on the register, it is subject to a number of rules established by law. According to 230 FZ «On the protection of the rights and legitimate interests of individuals in the implementation of activities for the return of overdue debts and on amending the Federal Law «About microfinance activities and microfinance organizations», collectors and other claimants are prohibited from:
- exceed the frequency of personal meetings with the debtor (no more than once a week), telephone conversations (no more than twice a week), SMS messages (no more than four times a week);
- call, write or come after hours – on weekdays from 22:00 to 08:00 and on weekends from 20:00 to 09:00;
- discuss your debt with third parties;
- use profanity;
- threaten with the use of physical force;
- damage property;
- exert psychological pressure.
– When communicating with you, the collector should use a business style of conversation, do not use pressure, do not whip up emotions, – says the president of NAPKA Elman Mehdiyev.
If a collection agency, bank or microfinance organization allows itself one of the following when carrying out collection actions – Leave a complaint on the SRO NAPKA service «Welcome to complain»: http://zhaloba.napca.ru/. All appeals are considered by the Control Committee of the self-regulatory organization.
6. You don’t owe anything, but they call you.
If you get a call like this, don’t hang up. – there you will not protect yourself from further communication with collectors. Find out the details as much as possible: what organization’s debt you are worried about, in whose name the loan is issued, what is the amount of the debt. Explain that you – not the one who collectors need, and ask to exclude your number from the telephone base. If the calls did not stop, fill out the appeal using the NAPKA service «Welcome to complain»: http://zhaloba.napca.ru/. Remember that collectors are only allowed to call the number provided by the lender (bank or MFI). In addition, agencies should not negotiate debts of certain persons with others, even if they are relatives or friends..
The main parameters of communication with the collector
If a collector calls you and it works legally (that is, it is included in the register of the Federal Bailiff Service), then – remember his responsibilities:
- The collector must introduce himself, state his name, his company and name the creditor in whose interests he is acting.
- The collector does not have the right to call more than 2 times a week and send more than 4 messages a week.
- The collector has the right to inform you about the debt (by call or SMS) on weekdays from 08:00 to 22:00, on weekends – from 09:00 to 20:00.
- The collector is obliged to conduct a dialogue in a business style.
- The collector has the right to meet with you in person no more than 1 time per week.
7. You want to negotiate individual conditions with the collectors.
Oddly enough, sometimes it is with collectors that it is easier to agree on individual terms of debt repayment than with banks. The main reason for this is that the collector, unlike the bank, is not obliged to increase the required reserves according to the Central Bank’s norms in the event that a problem loan appears on its balance sheet. Collectors can offer debtors a range of comfortable options.
These can be: small «holiday» from debt payment (that is, an agreement on the time during which the borrower does not pay), a serious restructuring of the loan terms (which allows you to reduce the amount of monthly payments), cancellation of penalties and penalties for delays.
8. Not enough money to pay off debt.
– And in this case, do not avoid communication with collectors, calmly explain your life situation, – advised by an independent member of the NAPCA board Yang art. – The collector in this case turns almost into your personal financial advisor. Calculate with him what monthly / weekly payment you can afford, and pay it in a disciplined manner. Let it be a smaller value, but which you can definitely enter without interruption. In my personal practice, when 15 years ago in a difficult situation I had problems with loans, it was with the collectors that I managed to come to an absolutely satisfactory both for me and their settlement scheme…
Oddly enough, it is often easier to negotiate with collection agencies than with the primary lender (bank or MFI). Professional debt collection agencies demonstrate an individual approach to each client. If you do not have the required amount for the monthly payment set by the lender, the collection agency can provide credit holidays, reduce the amount of the monthly payment, write off the fines and penalties charged by the primary lender. the main thing – conduct a constructive dialogue with him and remember that any, even the minimum payment, – this is a step towards getting rid of debt. «Even a small payment is important to a collection agency because it confirms your willingness to work on debt repayment.», – notes Anton Dmitrakov, general director of a collection agency «EOS».
You can complain about the illegal actions of the collectors using the special resource NAPKA: http://zhaloba.napca.ru/