Ethics Checklist

How to Select an Ethical Collection Partner

A Practical Checklist for Government Agencies

Your motorists expect you to partner with principled, mission-driven organizations. So how can you evaluate potential collection vendors, to ensure they are aligned with your ethical standards? Here are some suggestions, based on our decades of industry experience:

Talk with their current and former clients. Candid conversations with peers about their experience with a vendor can help indicate what to expect from your own partnerships.

Look up their  Better Business Bureau rating. These are independent, unbiased ratings based on consumers’ verified experiences with companies.

Ask about lawsuits they have recently settled or had filed against them. Recognizing that not all suits have merit, it can still be helpful to look at patterns and outcomes.

Ask to see their documented organizational code of conduct, controls, and processes for identifying and managing compliance and ethics risks. They should have systems and teams exclusively dedicated to these oversight activities.

Look into their financial situation. Solvency can be a good indicator of an organization’s overall corporate governance and their ability to perform required services.

Ask for information about their employee training programs. These should be robust, relevant, and regularly refreshed, with stringent requirements for both new hires and tenured employees. You also should see evidence that the vendor performs thorough employee background checks.

Request to see their licenses. They should have documented, current proof of their ability to collect on your specific debt portfolios, including proof of their compliance with all applicable local, state, federal, and industry regulations. Your collection agency vendor should be licensed to operate in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

Consider their philanthropic commitments. Review their website and social media feeds. Ask them to explain their philosophy for giving back to their community. The more you learn, the more you may infer about how they would treat you, your staff, and your motorists.

If they subcontract work to other organizations, look into those companies too. Make sure you are comfortable with all parties that would handle your portfolios and interface with your motorists and that you understand where and how they will perform the work.