Should Be Using Your Bank Card, Not Your Debt Card

, , , , , | Right | October 25, 2018

(I work for a debt collection company who mostly works on behalf of other companies. Basically, if a company has no luck getting a customer to pay, they get us to chase it for a short while. If we are unsuccessful, the account is passed back and usually goes to court, which is when bailiffs get involved. I get a call from a customer who is unhappy about getting letters demanding payment on a credit card balance; he hasn’t made a single payment in 18 months. Looking at the notes, we’re not the first company they’ve passed it to, but a note says if we don’t resolve it, this is going straight to court and bailiffs.)

Customer: “This letter says you’re taking me to court.”

Me: “If your debt cannot be resolved with us, then yes, [Company] will be taking it to court. If you can’t pay the balance today, I can set up a payment plan, but I will need a token payment today in order to set it up.”

(When accounts are marked as “high risk” — i.e. the customer has already set up but never stuck to payment plans with the original company — we cannot set up anything without some kind of token payment up front.)

Customer: “This is because I’m black, isn’t it?”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “Yeah, because I’m black you think I’m going to steal stuff, so you’re getting a judge involved.”

Me: “First, [Company] will take you to court because you haven’t paid the balance owing. Second, how would they know you were black?”

(Please note that the customer has a very generic name like “John Smith.” I had no way of knowing his ethnicity.)

Customer: “Well, duh! The colour of my skin. Are you blind?!”

Me: “Sir, this is a telephone conversation. I can’t see you.”

Customer: *long pause* “Oh. Okay. So, uh… how much would I have to pay to set up a payment plan today?”

(I took a payment and set up a payment plan. Surprise, surprise, the customer didn’t stick to it. The customer made a complaint claiming I was a racist and called him a racial slur and threatened him on the phone in order to get him to pay. He also wanted the money he paid back. He demanded his balance be written off because of this. Obviously, the complaint didn’t go anywhere because the calls are recorded and proved it didn’t happen, but the customer still kept calling to say I was being racist. His account got passed back to the client, which meant only one thing: bailiffs were headed his way.)

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