Saturday, September 17, 2005

A brief tutorial on phone etiquette for collection agencies

This post is about

2333 Grissom Dr # 100 (Westport Industrial Plaza)
P.O. Box 1839
Maryland Heights, MO 63043

Note: This post was updated on January 30th, 2006 with the language above, per the statement near the end of the original article. Yes, I gave them more than 90 days to reply before outing them. Thanks for playing, CCM.

A friend of mine once summed it up brilliantly: "Just because some asshole can make a bell ring in my house, that doesn't mean I have to talk to him." Time is money, and I don't have nearly as much of either as I'd like, so here are some rules about calling me:

1) Don't call my house with a computer recording which does not identify you or your company and simply demands that I call "customer service."

2) If I respond to such a call -- I shouldn't, but sometimes I do -- don't answer the phone and start asking me questions before you've identified your company or its purpose in calling. And when I explain that you called me and that you won't be getting information until you explain who you are and what you want, don't get in a huff and hang up. I have your number, remember?

3) When I call back and finally compromise (stupid, I know) by telling you what phone number it was you originally called, and we discover together that you are trying to reach someone other than me (but someone whom I know and who has used my phone number as a contact number in the past), don't start asking me personal questions about myself. If you do so, and I decline to answer, don't get pissy with me and start telling me how I am wasting your time and how I have an obligation to answer. I don't. I don't owe you anything, remember? You called me, I don't know you from Adam, and we've already established that you're looking for someone else. I have no obligation to help you reach that person (except to the extent that I may have an obligation to that person -- I certainly don't have one to you), and I'm sure as hell not going to help you reach that person if you piss me off.

4) When you do piss me off, and I say "fuck you, stay off my phone line" and hang up, don't call back demanding an apology for my profanity. You started this, bucko. Saturday morning is not a good time to yank my chain. You haven't heard profanity yet. But it's coming.

5) When I decline to apologize for telling you to fuck off, don't give me your (still-unidentified) company's address, tell me you're getting off at noon, and ask me to show up there with the unstated implication that you're going to kick my ass. For one thing, it's not nice and no way to get what you're after. For another, it's probably illegal. For a third, all 245 ex-Marine pounds of me (for once it's nice to have put on weight) just might turn up there looking for a beef with the caller who calls himself [name redacted -- initials W.F.].

6) Very important: Don't threaten to call me "on Monday, on Tuesday, on Wednesday until I get what I want" after I've told you to cease and desist. That's not just "probably" illegal. It is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and I might get it into my head to cruise over to the Missouri Division of Finance site to file a complaint instead of just writing about you on my blog ... if I figure out who you are.

7) When you're doing all these things you shouldn't be doing, don't assume that I can't figure out who you are or who you work for ... because I can. As a matter of fact, the URL for this blog entry will be inserted into your firm's contact form and sent as soon as I post it. I have your company's name, I have your company's address (you gave it to me when you were wanting to throw hands, remember?), I have your company's PDF brochure about how professional and courteous you are and how that is certain to make you very good at collecting debts for me if I am a company looking for a collection agency to do so.

See how courteous I am? I've declined to publicly name your firm or its agent ... for now. I don't delete my blog entries, but I do add to them. If Mr. E. (the company founder and president) really wants nasty phone calls from regulators in Jefferson City, not to mention his company's name in BIG RED LETTERS at the top of an article which will show up above the company's promotional materials in the search engines, that can be arranged. Or he might consider apologizing to me and teaching his staff some manners.


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