Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the main difference with Southern and other collection companies?
A. It matters to us how we treat people – in fact, treating people with respect is one of our core values. Debt collection is a difficult business and Southern collectors can do it well without taking a person’s dignity or being rude.
Most people want to pay their debts, but they don’t know their options or how to manage their finances well. We do not charge people more than it costs to collect the debt, and we have no conflicts of interest with any of our vendors such as attorneys or process servers.
Our entire team works for our client, and our values and corporate culture reflect that at every level.
Q. What are the advantages to hiring Southern Oregon Credit Service?
A. Southern exclusively focuses on receivables and collecting overdue payments. This means that your company can:
- focus on your core business offerings without worrying about bad debt accumulation
- continue to have good customer relationships – our team of collectors are always professional and respectful
- save the expense of in-house salaried personnel who have to work to collect past-due accounts
- recover more debt since Southern has the incentive of getting a percentage of what we collect
- safeguard your business from legal hassles since Southern is stay up to date with debt collection rules and regulations at the local, state, and federal level.
Q. What are your rates?
A. Southern receives a contingent commission rate. The specific amount depends on a number of factors, including:
- number and average balance of the account(s) you assign
- average age of the account
- type of debt
- possible location of the debtor
- level of activity required to collect the debt
Healthcare has a different type of debt and debtor than commercial advertising or municipal government debt, so the rates can vary between industries. Rates generally range 20%-35% of the principle collected for most debts.
Q. What is your typical process for collecting debts?
A. Southern has a comprehensive process of debt collection that is focused on establishing communication with the consumer. Our collectors call all known numbers right after listing the account, as well as send notices to the last known address.
A major component of the collection process is locating and verifying a debtor’s assets. We identify a reasonable payment plan for each person that’s based on their income and assets. Our team reports to three national credit bureaus in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and work with a number of attorneys for litigation and post-judgment collection.
Q. How often will I hear from someone at Southern?
This varies depending on your needs, as well as the number and types of accounts you’ve listed. One of our representatives will regularly communicate with you about the status and progress of your collection accounts. We will set up a schedule with you that works for the number and types of accounts you’ve listed, whether it’s a weekly meeting or an update phone call every few months.
Q. Do you file for or collect judgments?
A. We accept judgments for collection and we will pursue litigation to obtain a judgment when necessary. For Oregon-based debt, Southern pursues small claims judgments as often as feasible – this keeps your costs down and it reduces recovery time.
We have agreements with attorneys who are licensed in Oregon, California, Nevada, and Washington to pursue judgment recovery in those states. Southern is licensed as a debt collector in Oregon and able to collect in California (no specific collection license is required in California).
Q. How long do you work the accounts?
A. Southern works each account for the statute of limitations of the debt, unless a time for assignment is prearranged at the time of listing. Most Oregon debts have a statute of six years, but times can vary with many factors.
Our collectors try to establish the collectability of each debt. If we determine the debt is not collectible at this time, we continue to check for new information on credit reports (when allowed) and other location and skip-trace vendors for the length of the statute. A debt that is not collectible now may be in two years, so we continue to review older accounts for new information.
Q. How do I assign accounts?
A. A Master Assignment Agreement (and business Associate Agreement if you are in the healthcare industry) will allow Southern to begin working for you. We will need specific information about the debt and the debtor in a format that is easiest for you to assign.
You can provide us with the accounts via our secured Client Access Web portal, by fax, or mail. You can also simply ask to have one of our Customer Service Representatives pick up your documents in a convenient and efficient fashion.
Q. What is the easiest way to assign accounts?
Creating an electronic file of the accounts and billing details is often the fastest and easiest way to assign accounts. You can upload the file(s) from your own computer any time you are ready. Other clients prefer to make copies of documents or print out statements. As long as we get the information we need, the easiest way for you works for us.
Q. What kind of reports can I get?
A. What kind of reports do you need? As part of our standard process, we already provide many reports for our clients to access and produce via our Client Access Web portal. You can download these in Word or Excel formats. Southern also creates custom reports and electronic files for our clients. Let us know what you need and we should be able to produce it as often as you need.
Q. What keeps you from collecting from people?
A. People may have income or assets that cannot be legally attached to specific debts. Each state prescribes a minimum and maximum amount of wage garnishments and writs of executions on personal property like vehicles and bank accounts. All income from social security or a retirement account is completely exempt from attachment.
Most of the time we can locate and even talk to people, but they simply do not have the means to pay. Some people do not bring in enough income to make payments or have their wages garnished. They may already have garnishments in place from debts such as child support or the IRS that take 25% or more of their income. Bankruptcy prevents creditors from collecting most or all of a person’s debts.
Q. Do you collect in other states?
A. Southern is licensed in Oregon as a debt collector, and registered in California to do business (California does not have a licensing requirement).
We are able to collect in many other states; however a number have requirements too onerous for a company with few debtors located there. Our team networks with other agencies in those areas to continue collection efforts from a local perspective when practical.
Q. What do you do to follow all the collection laws?
Southern became a certified Professional Practices Management System company through ACA International in 2008. Our written policies and procedures, regular training, dedicated Quality Assurance Coordinator and team, and highly involved ownership in the debt collection industry all work toward making Southern a well-oiled and compliant firm. Southern requires all of our employees to become certified Professional Collection Specialists with ACA International. every one of our collectors train and retrain in the FDCPA and Professional Telephone Techniques. In addition, Commercial Collector Certification through IACC keeps our commercial collectors compliant and professional.
FDCPA, FCRA, HIPAA, Oregon Unlawful Debt Collection Act, Rosenthal Act, GLBA, and several other laws directly regulate and effect the processes of third-party debt collectors. Southern became a certified Professional Practices Management System company through ACA International in 2008.
If you have other questions, please call us at 1-800-283-0222 and we will be happy to answer them.