We have received multiple calls from clients with questions about our process for contacting debtors. This document gives a breakdown on how we pursue debt after all the current FCC rule changes. We do everything possible to comply and ensure that we protect all parties from any type of legal exposure.
The FCC’s recent interpretive ruling has certainly made it more difficult to use the tools at our disposal to effectively contact your clients – specifically they have indicated that without express permission given by the consumer, debt collectors may not use an automated dialer to call cell phones. The good news is that we already had safeguards in place before the ruling was even made.
Our software automatically screens every number we call against two different databases. The first is a database of all phone numbers that were originally issued as a cell phone number. These numbers are automatically sorted as we enter new business and put in a special queue to be hand dialed. A dialer does not call these numbers at all until we have asked for and received express permission from the consumer to call that number on a dialer. This is an opt-in strategy that only allows numbers that have been marked as having gained permission to be called on a dialer.
In the second database, we filter our numbers through a listing of all numbers that have been “ported” or switched from a landline to a cell phone. This database is updated every day to ensure no numbers escape our attention. Before a number can be called on a dialer, it is screened through this database and sorted to a queue that can only be hand dialed. Again, we use an opt-in strategy as we gain permission on these numbers and then, and only then, are they labeled in a way that allows a number to be called on a dialer. All permissions given to us are recorded in the phone conversation and stored for two years.
In addition to these safeguards, we use a “click-to-collect” process that forces a collector to manually record on every conversation that they have asked on every call, is this number a cell phone? And do we have your express permission to call you with an automated dialer at this number?
With regard to pre-recorded messages being left, we currently do not use them for several reasons. First, it creates a potential compliance trap that we are trying to avoid. Second, we have always felt that it is a better customer service experience to have a live voice on the phone. People usually can detect and dislike pre-recorded messages. It is our goal to deliver the best possible experience to your patients.
We highly recommend reviewing your consent to treat or any other contractual documents that the consumer signs to make sure you are asking them to give irrevocable permission to call every number they give you including their cell phone number in the future, both by you and any agent acting to pursue payment on your behalf on any automated dialer technology. Including this as part of your admissions process would be an added protection just in case something was missed or technology failed us somehow. We value your help in assisting us in our endless quest for compliance and success in our collection efforts on your accounts.