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Example script from experienced collector...please read!!!!
Mods...please don't delete this! This is different from the other thread that is the guide. This is an actual acript!
This is a little long, but please read!
Those of us with several years in the industry are really good at knowing who has fallen on hard times as opposed to the "professional debtor."
That said, let me talk about scripts. I don't care WHAT a collector tells you...they have a script. The collectors are monitored, and QA forms are filled out on them to make sure they did everything they were supposed to. The last place that I worked was really out of hand. The QA form was over 25 questions long. The collectors go to one or more meetings every week to practice role playing on scripts, and it is pounded into their brains. I have actually been given flow charts on how to handle "objections." It's silly, but that's the business.
Here is a basic script: comments in << >> are further explanations for the purpose of this post, and what YOU should know what the collector is actually up to!
Collector: May I speak with Mary?
Debtor: This is Mary.
C: Mary, my name is Sarah, and I am a manager calling from the firm of XYZ here in Dallas. Mary, this is real sensitive information, so I need to verify that I am talking to the correct Mary Jones. The last four of the social that you put in this file is 1234. I am assuming that hasn't changed?
D: Yes, that's me. What's this about?
C: Well, Mary, as I said, I am a manager here, and I have to ask you some questions about your Visa card that has been delinquent for quite some time. Mary, they tell me that you refuse to pay this. I know that this isn't always the case, so I am calling today, Mary, to find out why this is a refusal to pay, or if they have provided me with the wrong information.
D: Well, I didn't refuse to pay it. I lost my job, and my unemployment only covers living expenses right now.
C: Mary, sounds like you have been having a tough time. Unemployment rates have been cut there in Florida, haven't they? To what, about $300 a week?
D: Yeah, it's pretty bad, about $310 a week.
C: Gee, Mary. That must be so hard trying to feed your family on that. Your husband's income supplements that though a little bit, so that should help.
D: Yes, well, my husband only works part time because of an injury, so we don't make that much.
C: Well, Mary, I can tell that this is not a refusal to pay, it's an inability. My guess is the last person you talked to was asking for too much money, and you couldn't afford it. Sounds like you all have been though it! How was your husband hurt?
D: Yeah. We don't make that much. He got hurt with bulging disks in his neck.
C: Mary, that's terrible! How long has he only been able to work part time? Since his surgery a few months ago?
D: Oh, his surgery was last year. He has only been back to work part time for a few months now.
C: Well, Mary, I am here to help you today. It looks like you fit into our hardship catagory, so let me just fill out this form here and see what I can do to help you get this negative mark off of your credit, and avoid any further action taking place on this account.
C: OK, Mary. Your address is still 123 Main St, in Tampa, right?
C: Now, Mary I know we have a good home number for you, but in order for you to qualify, we need to get an alternate number. This could be your cell, sibling, parent, sister...just an alternate number. Mary, we won't need to call them as long as this number is good.
D: Ok, my cell phone is 555-555-5555.
C: That's great, Mary. I know you are unemployed, but how long have you been on that now?
D: About six months.
C: Mary, do you get a direct deposit like most folks do nowadays?
C: Let's see Mary, if I remember correctly, unemployment is paid out two times a month there in Florida, usually on Fridays?
C: OK, great. Now, Mary, we have here in our notes that your husband was employed with Wal-Mart, does that sound right to you? I am not sure if I am reading this correctly...these notes can be confusing sometimes!
D: Walmart? No, he works for Sears, at the mall here.
C: Oh really? Hmm. I don't know where that note came from! I'll correct that right now. Mary, do you have the number for Sears at the mall?
D: Oh, well, I don't want to give that to you.
C: OK, Mary, I understand. Please be assured that we don't want to call him. I just have to get this form completed for you. Can you just tell me the name of the mall if you feel more comfortable? I'll just explain to my director that you didn't want to give out the number, and it should be OK.
D: OK, he works at the Mall of Tampa.
C: Looking over your credit report here, and it says that you have purchased a car in the past three to five years. You still making payments on that?
D: Oh, no. That car was repossessed. We bought a cheap car for cash so John can get to and from work.
C: OK, I'll just note that here. Now, Mary, do you pay your mortgage on the 1st of the month?
D: Yes, we do.
C: OK, and you have been in your home there for quite a while. It is a better investment to mortgage your home than rent it, right!?
D: Yes, we have been making payments for a while.
C: Oops, almost overlooked this. Exactly how long have you been in your home? The records I have say more than ten years?
D: Yes, that's about right.
C: It also says no refinances during that time?
D: No, we haven't done that.
C: Well, Mary, based on the form here, I can indeed cut you a break on the balance. With interest, you owe $789.52. I can go ahead and knock that back to $675 for you, today only. We can do that now with your debit card or a check by phone, and date it for this Friday when your check comes in.
D: What? I don't have that kind of money!
C: Well, Mary, your check is going to be about $600 dollars, and I am sure that your husband's check can make up the difference, and then the remainder of his check can get your through to your next payday.
D: Oh, no. We have prescriptions, and mortgage, we cannot do it.
C: Oh, well, I understand. Mary, I would really like to be able to extend this offer to you to save you some money. Perhaps your mom or dad could help, and you could pay them back in small payments?
D: Oh, no, I couldn't ask them for help.
C: Now, Mary, I am not an attorney, so I cannot give you legal advice, but you should know that this account is in statute in the state of Florida. That is important for you to know. This is serious. You can check at a law library and find out what creditor rights are in your state. I don't want it to get to that point. Surely someone in your family or church could help?
D: No, that is not an option.
C: Mary, I looked over your credit report, and it seems like you have some debt that can be easily taken care of. Since you own your home, I can refer you to a partner company that does refinancing. You can use the equity in your home and pay off your debts!
D: Oh, no. My husband will never agree to that. There's just no way.
C: Well, here's an idea Mary. Mortgage companies are pretty reasonable. They will defer a payment if you need them to. Go ahead and give them a call, get that payment deferred, and use that money to pay us, and we'll get this off your credit.
D: No, we have been behind in our mortgage. We cannot do that.
C: OK, Mary. If you aren't able to pay this $675 in a lump sum, I can break it into two payments for you. Go ahead and get your debit card, and we will set up a payment for this friday, then for your next payday, and get this all cleared up!
D: That is still too much money.
C: OK, Mary, there are a couple of things I don't understand. You are in a dire financial situation, yet you can afford a cell phone bill? It sounds like you really need to examine your priorities here. You can always get that phone cut back on later!
D: Well, I don't care. I cannot make large payments.
C: Mary, why will you not ask someone to help you take care of this? Two payments to us, Mary. We can set it up on your mom's credit card. Just have her call us. It would be easier for you to pay her back in smaller payments and be done with this!
D: No, I will not do that. Mother is on SSI.
C: OK, Mary. Let me go out on a limb for you here. My boss isn't going to like this at all! $675 in four payments, post dated on your debit card. Otherwise, you will have to pay the full balance. Mary, please understand that I know what you are going through, and I really want to help!
D: OK, I will agree, but I do not want to give my bank info.
C: Mary, this is not a payment processing center. We don't have a mail department here. Our accounting department usually only deals with lump sums, so this is really unusual. I am really trying to save you some money here. Besides, for the past year, you have had the opportunity to mail your payments, and you didn't. We have no guarantee that you will stick to this arrangement, so for me to make this binding, I am going to have to postdate this for you. These payments will have to be in-house on these certain dates to avoid your account going for further action, and you can never depend on the mail these days. I'll wait while you grab your pocketbook.
So, the debtor gives me her info, then my supervisor gets on the phone to "back up" the arrangements. Really, what they are doing is making sure that there is nothing missed in order to get a lump sum payment.
That is how most scripts work. My advice is this:
LISTEN carefully to what the collector is asking you. DO NOT provide any information other than what they have. If they have your home number and address, that is really all they need. They may have your place of employment, but you certainly don't have to confirm it, and you surely don't have to give out the number. They can ask, but you don't have to provide it. They may call and try to verify your employment, that they can do. They have no right to know what your reason was for not paying the bill..in detail. All you need to do is tell them, "I became ill." When they ask why, for how long, how are your bills being paid, etc...do not answer them. Politely tell them that you do not feel comfortable giving them any info other than what they have. Tell them you will pay this bill as you have the money to do so, and that is the best you can do. They will continue to press you. Stay cool and calm (it drives them nuts) and say "I appreciate your call. I will be in touch when I can make an arrangement, goodbye." That's all they need to know!
Hope this helps. Feel free to re-post.
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