Handling Collection Disputes

After another successful year of studying (with a pinch of parties) at the University of San Diego, Credit Consulting Services welcomed its favorite intern back for another summer!  My role at CCS this summer has been similar to last summer, but I have taken on additional tasks.

Last summer I was pumping out more blogs and working with the social media side of CCS. This summer I have continued working in marketing, and also helped implement the company’s Client Relationship Management (CRM) database.  CRM allows CCS to identify and manage creditors who need help with their accounts receivable.  As a social butterfly with a creative mindset I enjoy working with the marketing aspect.  Unfortunately not all of my work is fun and games.

frustrated-internet-marketerThere is one particular task I find tedious yet eye-opening: consumer’s disputes on accounts.  This is my first hands-on experience with disputes.  Some consumer’s disputes are valid and the debt is not their responsibility.  More often than not, though, consumer’s disputes are not valid and the consumer knows full well the debt is his/her responsibility.  In my experience in the debt collection industry I have concluded that some people simply don’t want to pay their bills.  For instance, I have come across consumers with various accounts that they dispute multiple times.  A consumer with various accounts clearly has no desire to pay their bills.

I returned to CCS at the end of May, immersing myself into the not-so-wonderful world of e-OSCARE-OSCAR is a program developed as an online solution for processing Automated Credit Dispute Verifications (ACDVs).  It helps CCS process disputes and also helps consumer’s dispute accounts.

Using e-OSCAR and our system in place at CCS, I verify that the information between the two is correct.  Sounds exciting, right?  Although it is less than riveting it is extremely important to CCS.  If a dispute is ignored by the collection agency, the account is deleted from the consumer’s credit and the bill is never paid to the creditor.  Agencies are also at a constant risk of lawsuit if they do not comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  Just in the past year FCRA cases increased 22.7% according to ACA International.

Just how important is e-OSCAR? Well, I and another individual spend at least some, if not all, of our work day responding to these disputes.  Between the two of us, we found that at least 95% of the disputes are unfounded.  Even though nearly all disputes are erroneous, the FCRA requires ALL disputes be responded to within a 30 day window.  If not responded to, the credit account will be deleted.  Consumers hope a collection agency is neglectful so their account will fall through the cracks and be forgotten.  At CCS, no dispute is ever forgotten! In fact, we respond to disputes well before the end of the 30 days.

I must reiterate my final point from Collection Disputes: Good Faith or Bad Faith?: if you have a legitimate dispute, respond within 30 days of receiving the statement from the creditor or the first demand letter from the collection agency.  Do not dispute the bill simply because you did not pay and want it removed from your credit report to get a better credit rating, which falsely misleads the lender into believing you pay your bills on time.


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