When it comes to individuals who frequently file lawsuits against collection agencies, they can be categorized into one of three groups:
- People who want to make money
- People who are crazy
- People who are both
The three groups were provided by Amy Jonker, a principal in the law firm of Maurice Wutscher, who spoke during a webinar sponsored by WebRecon on the topic of best practices in winning suits filed by professional and pro se plaintiffs. Jonker was joined by David Kaminski, a partner in the law form of Carlson & Messer, John Bedard from the Bedard Law Group, and Manny Newburger, the founding shareholder of Barron & Newburger.
In some cases, collection agencies are best to avoid trying to collect from professional plaintiffs, because, the risk is not worth the reward.
“How many of them pay their accounts,” asked Bedard during the webinar. “Everything you do is wasted dollars. Professional consumer plaintiffs don’t pay their accounts.”
For those that attempt to collect from a professional plaintiff, either willingly or unknowingly, collectors should be on the lookout for signs they are being baited into saying something that will ultimately lead to a lawsuit.
“We’ve all seen case after case where someone on the phone asks a collector, ‘What’s going to happen to my credit report,’ “ Newburger said. “No collector ever should be discussing that.”
Other signs that agencies should be on the lookout for during collection calls are:
- Consumers who use legal jargon that normally only comes out of the mouths of experienced attorneys
- When consumers appear to be reading from scripts
- When consumers keep putting the call on hold or when the agent hears voices in the background to indicate there might be coaching going on
- Beeps that may indicate the call is being recorded
- In any of these events, agents need to be trained to get off the phone properly, Bedard said. A conversation between the collection agency and the creditor should ensue, where the agency shares the information about a potential lawsuit from a professional plaintiff if collection attempts continue.
“It can be a lose-lose situation for both of us,” Kaminski said agencies should tell creditors.
Kaminski said the best way to defeat professional plaintiffs is by letting the judicial system work for you.
“You have to wear them down by the process,” Kaminski said. “It will ultimately shut them down. But you still have to treat them with kindness and respect.”
For those who want to access a recording of the webinar, you can download it by clicking here.