Remote Work, SB248 Lawsuit, and More Discussed During Day 2 of ACA’s Convention

LAS VEGAS — More sights and sounds from ACA International’s Annual Convention, including a poll about remote work, an update on the industry’s lawsuit attempting to fight back against a medical debt collection law in Nevada, a tip on collectors’ commissions, and tips to deal with consumer lawsuits during the pandemic.

Most Attendees Want Employees in the Office Full-Time

An overwhelming majority of the accounts receivable management industry prefers to have employees back in the office full-time, rather than working remotely for some or part of the workweek, according to an informal poll that was taken during one of the sessions yesterday at ACA International’s annual Convention.

Asked for a show of hands how many attendees want employees to work remotely full-time, or for one, two, three, or four days of the week, only a handful of arms were raised for each option. But when asked by Mark Brennan of Hogan Lovells how many people wanted employees to be working in the office five days a week, most of the arms of attendees went up.

The question was asked during a live session of ACA’s Huddle, in which the panel were discussing how more states are allowing employees of collection agencies to work remotely and not be required to be in the office full-time, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

No Answer on TRO Request on Nevada SB248 Case Until Mid-August

Colin Winkler, the Corporate Counsel at ACA, shared an update about the industry’s case against the state of Nevada after it enacted SB248, a medical debt collection law.

A hearing was held on Tuesday in an attempt for the industry to obtain a temporary restraining order which would pause the law’s effectiveness, but the judge has instead opted to hold another hearing — this on on August 16 — in which representatives from the industry will be able to testify to the impacts that the law is having on their businesses. The judge also gave the Nevada Financial Institutions Division until August 10 to submit a brief detailing how it will clarify gaps in the regulation.

Drill Down to Understand From Where Collectors Are Collecting

During a session on how Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be used to develop successful call flows, Irene Hoheusle of Account Recovery Specialists encouraged companies to drill down into the collection payments that collectors are collecting, and not just look at the total. Knowing whether a collector made all of his or her collections from one payment or 100 may lead you to adjust the commissions that the collector earns, she noted.

Beware of Consumer Attorney Tactics

The COVID-19 pandemic has given consumer attorneys and consumers a whole new bag of tricks to try and catch collectors in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act violation, noted Kat O’Brien of United Holding Group and Brooke Teal of AACANet during a presentation on the legal landscape.

One consumer attorney, for example, used the plaintiff’s email address when filing pleadings trying to catch the defendant into communicating with a represented plaintiff. Another lawyer kept adding the consumer’s email address into an email chain, forcing O’Brien to remove the email address every time she replied to the email, avoiding a similar potential violation.

Both O’Brien and Teal cautioned those in the audience about judges who order defendants to email documents to consumers, especially if they are represented by an attorney.

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