We take disputes very seriously. We understand that a true dispute is the first step in what could turn into a public relations nightmare. But we are not going to let that happen. In fact, we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding our collectors' conduct that eliminates the possibility of our causing a public relations issue for a client. Even though we cannot guarantee a consumer will not complain to a regulatory body or a consumer news outlet, we are confident that, when the facts are presented, we will have handled ourselves as professionals and done everything the right way.
With that in mind, what happens when a consumer "disputes" an account?
First, we let the consumer say his piece. We do not interrupt, interject, argue, or cut him off. We listen—no matter how long it takes. Our collectors are experts at carefully listening to the consumer, and giving him plenty of time to explain his dispute. In most cases, just the fact that we listened and let him vent shows the consumer we respect his point of view. This tends to surprise some consumers because they are not used to a collection agency really listening and not arguing. Taking the time to listen helps build rapport and is one of the reasons we are successful at preventing public relations concerns.
Once they have presented the facts as to why they are disputing their bill, our collectors instruct the consumer to send us the documentation that supports his claim. This allows us to determine which consumers have a legitimate dispute and which ones are stalling. We require documentation because we have learned over the years that consumers notice certain key words and phrases that tend to throw off the average collection agency. However, if a consumer has a valid dispute and they send us documentation that backs up their story, once we have properly screened the issue, we are finally able to present the matter to you.
When this happens, we will compile the information and IMMEDIATELY forward the documents to you. This way, if a written response is required, you will have the maximum amount of time possible to respond. We put a hold on the account and do NOTHING until we hear back from you. If you discover that the dispute is valid, simply instruct us on the proper action (balance adjustment due to insurance payment, account closed because it was placed in error, etc.), and we will update the account and proceed with the appropriate follow up.