5 Ways to Prevent Legal Exposure
Up front, I need to state clearly that I am not an attorney; therefore, what I express below is not legal advice. I’m simply sharing my views based on my 20+ years of industry observation. Phew…now that’s over, let’s get down to basics.
- Rely on your corporate attorney. ALWAYS consult with your corporate attorney BEFORE implementing and creating new policies/procedures. Often an attorney is wrongly considered a money drain and someone that you avoid. But in the Asset Recovery industry, your corporate attorney is your friend and advocate. Don’t exclude them when making important operational changes.
- Plan! It is hard for businesses, especially small businesses, to take time out of their busy schedules to plan, but it is critical you do so. Plan with the end purpose of reducing legal exposure. Involve as many stakeholders as possible, especially owners and high level executives. How about other stakeholders: Managers – collection, dialer, IT, accounting? What about front-line supervisors. Having too many people involved in the planning process could actually stall your planning. At the very least, create a draft procedure and then share it with those that will have to live with it every day. Ask for and listen to their input.
- Follow through with your plan. The hardest, yet most important action is actually implementing your legal exposure reduction plan. Review results regularly and make adjustments where needed. Everyone needs to be an active member of the plan. Nothing will kill your plan faster than having an executive not follow what has been planned. If this happens, your plan will implode before it gets started.
- Train, train and train! You must train ALL employees on the plan and retrain them regularly. Take advantage of industry training services to educate your employees about the FDCPA, TCPA, FCRA and numerous other regulations. I strongly encourage you to attend industry tradeshows where you can learn firsthand about pending regulations and other activities that will impact your business.
- Adopt helpful technology. Involve your technology and service vendors in your plan. Discuss with them some of your areas of concern. It is very probable that your technology vendors have a product, service or procedure that will help shield your company from potential legal problems.
I know I said 5 Ways to Prevent Legal Exposure, but there is something else I need to express, so here are a couple bonus ways:
5.5.Get involved! Don’t be a quiet bystander and watch as only a few Asset Recovery industry members stand up and fight the bombardment of legislation and regulations. Contact your political representatives and educate them about who you are and how your business helps the economy. Let them know how many people you employee and the taxes that you contribute to your city, county and state. Educate them on the importance of the Asset Recovery industry. As long as our politicians misunderstand our industry they will continue to regulate. They are certainly hearing and listening to the consumer protection advocates – don’t let those voices be the only voices politicians hear.
5.75. Smile. Finally, smile more often, have fun, implement your plan and enjoy your work!
This article was written by Dave R