I need to hire a collection agency. How can I find out whether an agency is reputable?
Most reputable collection agencies are members of the American Collectors Association or the Commercial Law League of America. The American Collectors Association has 3,437 members; the Commercial Law League lists more than 5,000 members on its Web site. Both associations require that their members adhere to a code of ethics and are familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Both associations also provide ongoing education for their members.
When choosing a collection agency, also ask for proof of insurance. Most licensed collection agencies are required to carry bonds for their particular state and Errors and Omissions insurance, which protects both the agency and client for any errors made by the collection agency.
If you are curious about the recovery rate of an agency, ask. All of them will provide you with a percentage. To ensure that it's realistic, ask for references to verify the percentage. Check to see how long it took the agency to collect and if they collected the whole debt or just a portion of what was owed.