Collection agencies working to avoid payment default entries
“I wish people had more knowledge about debt collection.”
Henry - service adviser
Maksuhäiriömerkintä is a payment default entry made in the debtor’s credit record if they are unable to pay off their outstanding liabilities. It is one of the first things people in Finland think of when the topic of debt collection comes up. Payment default entries are certainly one aspect of debt collection, but perhaps not quite in the way people often think. The difference is that despite public perceptions to the contrary, our role as the debt collection agency is to help people avoid these entries, not to generate more of them.
Helping people move on
Payment default entries, which are entered into the consumer’s credit record for a fixed period of time, will adversely impact the record holders life for quite some time come, and for this reason, we believe that the finance and debt management industry as a whole should be actively working to prevent them. At OK Perintä, we are making this happen by negotiating with as many of our debtor customers as possible to find a tailored solution for clearing their outstanding payments that best suits their own individual circumstances. This is precisely what our customer service representative Henry specialises in, which is why we asked him to share his thoughts with us.
“I’ve worked in debtor customer services for around five years, on both the consumer and business side, and I have to say the biggest difference is people’s attitudes towards debt collection. Consumers seem to know much less about what debt collection involves, which of course is entirely understandable. What it means, however, is that some consumers might panic and not know how to respond,” Henry explains.
The more information the better
At OK Perintä, we believe that the collection agencies have a role to play in improving the situation for customers by taking a more proactive role in communicating to people what debt collection really means and what the collection process is all about.
“Increasingly, perfectly normal, ordinary people are finding themselves dealing with debt collection agencies. I’m convinced it would make a big difference if people knew that just receiving a letter from a collection agency doesn’t automatically mean that they will end up with a payment default entry on their record. I suspect this is quite a common misconception, and in actual fact most people will be able to avoid a default entry on their record by getting in touch and agreeing a way forward together,” Henry adds.
A payment default entry is a lose-lose situation for all
For us at OK Perintä, debt collection is process of identifying a repayment solution that is a win-win for everyone involved. Ultimately, we are always looking to secure an arrangement where the debtor avoids a payment default entry and the creditor receives their money. This is not always possible, however. What matters is that the lines of communications remain open in both directions.
“Sometimes I get the impression that for some reason people don’t want to tell us how much they can realistically pay back each month. We are here to help and the more information we have, the more we can do. Inevitably, in some circumstances, a payment default entry cannot be avoided. If you receive a payment default entry, you will no longer be able to obtain further credit, which ultimately is for the best. That said, I consider it a success every time I manage to prevent a payment default entry,” Henry concludes.