Further to the success of his blog on Lloyds, Creditor Liaison Team Leader, Chris Brown, takes a moment to put fingers to keyboard and finally, tell us how it is.
Starting a Debt Management Plan
It’s a common experience for many of our debt management clients, that the first few weeks of a plan can be the most difficult. Contact from creditors does not stop overnight and it is during this time that we write to creditors explaining our client/s have chosen to enter into a debt management plan. In order to progress with the plan, we ask creditors for information regarding what is owed to them and then await their replies…and in some cases we can be made to wait for an unreasonably long time while the contact to our client persists.
We understand how stressful this time can be for our clients, so we work as quickly as we can to deal with your creditors and get the process moving; our team are always looking for new ways to make this process as fast as possible but as you’d expect, there are a few obstacles in place to slow us down.
Some creditors are easier to contact than others
Obtaining information from Barclays, for example, can be like trying to get military secrets out of North Korea. We get a standard pre-prepared response which outlines their resolve to shun western conventions such as helpful call centre staff or debt management departments who use email. Instead we are given no other option but to send our correspondence in the post and wait for Barclays to sort, read and reply to our query.
We have hundreds of clients with debts to Barclays but despite this, they are unwilling to re-evaluate their procedures and consider allowing us to call them so that we can move our Debt Management Plans forward as quickly as possible.
Scripted answers to our queries
Another stumbling block for our team is speaking with non UK call centres. Some staff at companies such as Capital One and Blair, Oliver & Scott are trained to only answer certain queries with pre agreed scripts. This can often be like talking to a badly programmed robot whose owner didn’t install the basic logic software correctly. I could go on more about this issue but I suspect many of you reading this will also have experienced similar problems and so share my frustration.
Using data protection to slow down the process
We take the protection of our clients’ personal information extremely seriously and expect creditors to do the same. However, recently there have been a couple of creditors who appear to be abusing the Data Protection Act, making obtaining information and setting up payment arrangements as slow as possible. Capital One, for example, reject on a daily basis countless letters of authority (which permit us to speak on our clients behalf) claiming that the signature does not match the one they have on their records.
It’s as if they have somebody with a magnifying glass, who spends their day rejecting our authorities on the basis that the first letter is angled forward 45 degrees rather than the 46 degrees the debtor used on the credit agreement.
We applaud creditors who are moving with the times
Despite these problems, a vast majority of creditors and collectors are now accepting payments by BACS (Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services) which is much quicker than cheques. And a growing number of creditors (Allied International Credit, Moorcroft, Apex and JD Williams but to name but a few) are also now communicating with us by email, eliminating the need to wait for their letters in the post.
Each day our team is trying to communicate with creditors and grow relationships so that we can improve the processes – for you – our clients. We’re finding more logical, time and cost efficient methods of progressing a client’s Debt Management Plan with as little inconvenience and stress to either party.
Have your say
If you have any ideas which you feel creditors could consider to improve the process of Debt Management Plans, then why not have your say here too? Consider your thoughts carefully as we value your feedback and we will use some ideas to put forward to creditors as we develop our relationships with them.