By law, all debt collection calls initiated by a collection agency must be recorded and preserved for three years after the date of the call. The primary objective is to check if there was a violation of debt collection laws (FDCPA laws), and those recordings can be reviewed if there is a need.
Say you are a collection agency, and your client (the original creditor) contacts you to tell that they have received a complaint from the debtor telling that your debt collector was very rude over the phone or felt threatened. Such complaints from debtors can get your client to worry about their reputation. The client may demand that they want to hear the recording of that collection call. The question arises if it is ok to share that recording with your client or not.
In short: In our opinion, a collection agency should avoid sharing debt collection call recordings with their clients for the following reasons.
- This can sometimes become a regular habit for some clients.
- Sharing collection calls with clients may result in privacy/compliance issues. Please explain this to your client, and they will get it. Assure them that you will personally hear that call recording along with your compliance officer and check if indeed there was any violation. Once you hear that recording, you can transcribe it to your client.
- You can also update your client on the collection activity made by your agency so far. This includes if the debtor was skip traced and how often you attempted to reach the debtor.
- If your client insists that they want to see collector notes on the online portal to understand how much collection activity is going on each of their accounts, that is again tricky. Well, sharing collection notes is usually of no use because most debt collectors use short-hand and ambiguous words, which are nearly impossible to understand for normal users. These notes can easily be misinterpreted. Convey them that your debt collectors do not get paid unless they collect money on client accounts, so clients should be assured that your collectors attempting to recover the debt in the best possible manner.
Sharing your internal collection recordings or notes can cause inconvenience to you and raise other unforeseen complications.
However, if your client occasionally wants to know the status of a particular debt, do honor their request. Check with your collections team, and transcribe it for them.
It is fair to assume that 99% of the time, a debtor feels pressured due to the firm nature of collection calls, and there may not be any violation or threats involved as claimed by your debtor.
But if there is indeed a mistake on the debt collector’s behalf, corrective steps should be taken. Tell your client about the incident, and convey to them that appropriate steps have been implemented so that such an incident does not happen again.