- You meet difficulties when trying to collect your receivables from customers for services already performed. This can lead to financial difficulties for your own company.
- You have concluded a payment agreement, but the client still does not perform his/her obligations.
- A customer completely denies responsibility for a debt, though you have documents certifying its validity.
- The customer groundlessly complains about your business, product or service as an excuse not to pay.
- You spend too much time collecting a client's debts, often to the detriment of your true business.
- You would like your employees to focus on their core business and therefore you want to provide to them the time resource
You have already decided to hire a collection agency. Make your own study to find out what distinguishes the good from the bad practices in the field. The agency you choose will need to be experienced, to adhere to international best practices and to know your business well.
However, not all agencies can meet these requirements. Before making your choice, request references from some current customers of your potential partner and check if the company is a member of the Receivables Management Association – it has developed a Code of Conduct that is in accordance with the best international practices. All members of the Association comply with the norms set out in the Code.
Collection agencies’ work usually deals with a very sensitive area of the relationship between creditors and their clients. This necessitates the compliance with strict rules for operating in order to safeguard the interests of all parties and above all their good reputation. In many countries there is legislation concerning the debt collection agencies’ activity, the methods they implement as well as their powers and rights.
In many of those countries collection associations are established, uniting numerous companies, representatives of the industry (e.g. over 400 companies are members of the British CSA UK, over 600 are members of the German BDIU, etc.).
In Europe there is the Federation of the European National Collection Associations (FENCA), which is responsible for enforcing the ethics of collecting receivables, applied by individual countries.
Due to the fact that Bulgaria lacks official regulations in the area of collection of receivables, the only mechanism for regulating the activities of the collection agencies lies in the power of the Receivables Management Association, whose members are obliged to comply with its Code of Conduct.
The internationally recognized principles that should be implemented by the collection agencies are the following:
- The remuneration of the agency is formed on the basis of a commission, which is a percentage of the actually collected amount, i.e. only if the agency has recovered the debt, it will receive an agreed percentage of it as payment;
- Collection agency performing third-party debt collection, does not have the right to collect payments in cash or on its own bank account. The payments can only be collected to the bank account of the creditor company;
- Confidentiality of submitted personal information about the customers-debtors – in compliance with the Personal Data Protection Act, all companies involved in collection of receivables shall be registered administrators of personal data, which shall be proven with a certificate. The agencies undertake a number of measures to preserve and protect the data of their customers, such as restricted access and impossibility of copying databases, strictly restricted access to server rooms, etc.
- In performing their activities, the agencies pursue maximum protection of the reputation of their customers through applying ethical methods of work. The operations of agencies, members of the Association, are regulated by a Code of Conduct, which is in accordance with the rules of conduct of international associations, such as the British CSA, the American ACA International and the Federation of the European National Collection Associations (FENCA).