Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
We thought it would be interesting to show you behind the scenes here at the Debt Recovery Bureau and what better way to do that than to focus on excuses. In the debt collection business we have heard all the excuses imaginable, so here are our Top 10 excuses for none payment of debt. When challenged, many of these result in silence when the customer realises what they’ve said doesn’t quite make sense and they just can’t explain it. These are largely based on consumer debt but businesses come up with many of the same excuses too
10. Phone calls only
We’ve had customers who try to insist we only contact them by telephone. They then don’t answer the telephone – not very helpful. I’m not sure if they think they’re being ‘clever’ or it’s just downright awkwardness.
9. Poverty but has nice holidays
This one is the bug-bear of many a creditor. Often customers claim financial hardship, citing being on benefits or very low wages. Many of these are genuine and we work with them to get affordable and sustainable payments for you. However, you do get the occasional ‘hard-up’ customer who we’re unable to get hold of for a time only to eventually be told they’ve been on holiday for two or three weeks. Not surprisingly, this is one of the more galling situations we come across.
8. Never have their mobile phone
We do appear to come across a worryingly high number of people who never appear to have their mobile phones with them. They always appear to be answered by a family member or friend, even when we withhold our number. I thought the idea of a mobile phone was that you took it with you!
7. Refuse to deal with us by telephone
We’ve had a number of customers who won’t speak on the telephone (but don’t ask us to remove their number from out database, which we are obliged to do). Despite insisting we write, they never seem to receive our letters though. I must have a word with Royal Mail on that.
6. Only some contents received
When a low offer of payment is made by paying-in book, we also send income and expenditure forms for the customer to complete and justify the low payments. We’ve had a number who have returned the forms but claim never to have received the paying-on book that was in the same envelope! Some have even made one or two payments with the book they didn’t receive. I really must speak to Royal Mail.
5. Doesn’t know what it’s about
Sometime we get a customer who doesn’t return our calls or reply to letters as they claim not to know what it’s about. This is usually despite us speaking to them before and explaining the situation.
4. No letters until the ‘final’ one
Not surprisingly, our letters become firmer in their tone the further we get through the standard letter sequence. Quite often we will get a first call as result of one of the final letters, which depending upon the case usually indicate that further action of some form will be taken. The customers claim not to have received previous letters, in many cases having signed for one of them! Is this a problem with Royal Mail again?
3. Hasn’t been able to go out to make payments
This is one of my favourites of recent times. We managed to finally make contact with a customer who we had been trying to get hold of for some time due to being overdue with their payments. They claimed to have been ill and unable to go out to make the payment. When it was pointed out that we had called several times and were told on each occasion that the customer was out, they unfortunately had no explanation.
It happens every year. It amazes me how many people it takes by surprise though and causes havoc with instalments. We have known a certain postal delivery service suffer from being taken by surprise by it too!
1. New Postman
This is definitely my favourite just for how bizarre it is as an excuse. When asked why a recently overdue payment by paying-in book hadn’t been made, the customer’s response was that they’ve had a new postman and been all confused. We were unfortunately unable to get any further explanation from the customer on this one.
From speaking to clients over the years, I know a number of you have also had odd and bizarre excuses. We’d love to hear any new ones and if there are enough will get another ‘top ten’ published. Please do email any such stories to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you faced with excuses when trying recover your outstanding payments? Then why not talk to the experts in debt collection, we have heard all the excuses and know how to deal with them. Find out more about our debt collection services and free up time to do what you do best, work at your business.
You can find out all about our debt collection and recovery services on our website at www.tdrb.co.uk.
This article was first published in Funeral Director Monthly