Why are bill collectors so rude and unfeeling?

United States
November 30, 2006 6:30pm CST
Is it just their job, or do you think it takes that type of personality to do a job like that? I have been put down and literally told that I'm stupid when talking to bill collectors. I don't like the fact that I've even been put in that position, but when all the bills can't get paid you do what you have to do. Point in case: ....I had a bill collector call me regarding a hospital bill for my young son that I could not pay. I had taken him to the hospital as his regular doctor was closed.( He had a bad virus and had become extremely dehydrated very quickly. We spent the better part of the night in ER, with him hooked up to IV's and everything. ) I tried to tell her very politely that we had very little money and that I could pay a very small amount each month, but not what she was saying would suffice. She had the nerve to tell me that if I couldn't pay the bill then I shouldn't have taken my son to the hospital! Well, needless to say, i crawled up one side and down the other of that woman and told her that I hoped she was never put in that position, but that if she was, I hope someone said the same thing to her about her child and see how she responded. I hung the phone up/ I've since been put down many times. I've asked bill collectors not be condescending to me, and they have come right back at me and told me that I don't even know how to spell that word (I rattled off the spelling to her immediately and told her that she didn't know the MEANING of the word!)...I realize there are people out there who are rude and uncaring, and I've come to the conclusion that these people just have the right attitude for the job. I think being snotty is a prerequisite for these jobs. Have you had an experience like this? How have you handled it and what do you think about these people? Do you think their attitudes trickle down to their personal life?
34 people like this
241 responses
@xbrendax (2668)
• United States
1 Dec 06
I once had a male bill collector scream at me saying: Get a job!! Get a job!! Get a job!!!!! So I told him, thanks to his outburst, I've decided to just go homeless and when he gives out canned goods to the hungry, put something good in the bag too cause the homeless are tired of the garbage you usually give! Then I hung up the phone and went shopping!
• United States
1 Dec 06
lol...Good Job!
@MUNLAKE (159)
• United States
1 Dec 06
good for you, don't let them ruin you day.
@tsamcq (457)
• United States
1 Dec 06
Wow! That's awful. Sometimes I think companies do not know what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck. I think the people in those positions have just learned to speak firmly and harshly to people so that way you pay the bill to get them to leave you alone. I couldn't do the job.
5 people like this
• United States
1 Dec 06
They obviously have never had to live like a lot of people do, including myself..I could never have a job like that either, cause I know how it is...you pay a medical bill or you feed your family...hmmmm...is there any decision to really make there? Don't think so. thanks for sharing
6 people like this
• United States
1 Dec 06
some just need a significant other,lol
1 person likes this
@pendragon (3352)
• United States
1 Dec 06
I think there's a special level i hell for bill collectors.I've ripped the phone out of the wall a ew times, and had many a verbal battle.People that can do that job and sleep at night are purely evil!!
4 people like this
• United States
1 Dec 06
I have never met a generally ruder group of people and I find them pushy and unhelpful in general. There may be a few out there that do a good job, but it is a miserable job to start with and I would not want it
3 people like this
• United States
1 Dec 06
as far as getting my crap together, I was at the time trying to raise my 2 young children and had to quit work and stay home with my invalid mother. The only person making money for the whole household was my husband. Please learn the facts before you are so rude to someone....better yet, why don't you go get a job at a collection agency...sounds like you'd make the perfect employee.
• United States
1 Dec 06
I have found that the best response to a rude bill collector is to simply hang up on them. Then get a new phone number unpublished in the phone book and in any records therefore they can't your number again. Pay what you can and relax.
• United States
1 Dec 06
Yes I know what you mean they are just terrible I would love to be able to call them and treat them like they treat other people.
4 people like this
• United States
1 Dec 06
you know, i honestly don't think it would help at all...i think it would be a waste of time...i feel sorry for their families if they act like that at home
4 people like this
• United States
1 Dec 06
Yes, they tend to be mean. But, the reason that they do that is because if they act nice, everyone will say they will send the money, and won't. So they threaten and are mean to scare you. I know it isn't nice, so perhaps they are heartless, and that is why they are in that kind of a job. Please put a + near my name if you are happy with my response. Bless you.
5 people like this
• Lebanon
1 Dec 06
that's why they work in this field cose they have no feelings
1 person likes this
@Desdemona (1305)
• Canada
1 Dec 06
Well, I can't see it being a rewarding job. Plus they deal with objections with probably every customer. They hear all excuses and how they are ruining peoples lives. To be mean and cold is probably the easiest way to do the job.
4 people like this
• Philippines
1 Dec 06
One thing's for sure, it's no fun to be a debt collector. I don't even think they get paid enough to be doing the work they're doing. I mean, it's no easy task to have people cough up the dough and pay up but somebody has to do it. You are right, to be mean, cold and unfeeling is the easiest route in doing their job. If they show their "heart" they won't be able to do their job well.
• United States
1 Dec 06
I have also been told more than once that I was "STUPID" because I didn't pay my bills. One time it was the fault of the original company that I ordered merchandise from and they refused to resolve the issue, I then refused to send them more money. It went into collections and when they started HARASSING me...DAILY... I let them know that when they felt ready to take me to court they could deal with the faulty merchandise from their client and that IF resolved I would pay them the money- that I had been putting away. They didn't want to do that so they ended up settling with the company themselves and I never paid EITHER of them another penny! Another time was also over a hospital bill that I couldn't pay. I wasn't working at that time and had testing done at hospital due to health issues I was having. I had applied for financial aid thru hospital and was covered for all expenses incurred thru the hospital but a collections company kept calling and telling me I was STUPID for believing that hospitals would write off that sort of expensive testing. What a joke some of these people are! I like to just tell them that I have contacted a lawyer and when they take me to court I will plead my case in front of a judge and then we will see who is right and who is wrong... they tend to leave things alone then. Of course, they then always ask "If you can't afford to pay your bill how can you afford to get a lawyer?" A close friend of ours is a Harvard law school professor. hehe
• United States
1 Dec 06
OMG, I had financial help from a hosptial, and they wrote it off. THEY ARE THE STUPID ONES!
2 people like this
@wmg2006 (5383)
• United States
1 Dec 06
I have dealt with a few really rude collection agencies too! I found in my research that the people hired by the collection companies ONLY earn their paycheck if they get the customer to pay the amount required. They are told it does not matter what they do as long as they get the money. Now I have dealt with some really nice peole too who just had a way with people and who really made you feel like they cared. But the thing is once it goes as far as a collection agency the kindness STOPS! They feel you should have tried to work with the original company you owed and by the time they recieve it you are a deadbeat. I am not upholding their methods I am just trying to tell you how they feel. I personally think it is border line illegal the way they do but I talked to a few lawyer friends, I am a paralegal, and I was told it is not illegal but it is unethical. Now in the law world unethical is a kind way of saying it is so close to illegal if questioned it could become illegal. Hope this helps you understand why these people act this way and how they are able to get by with it. Another thing, in America if you do not pay a hospital bill the ONLY thing they can do to you is get a judgement against your credit and sometimes they CAN garnish your wages but they seldom do unless the bill is phenominal. So as long as you try to pay them anything over $5.00 a month the courts will rule in your favor for effort. Don't answer the phone when they call let them leave their messages and you keep right on trying to pay. That is the American way!
• United States
1 Dec 06
That's what I mean..they are told that it doesn't matter how they get the money...I have always been more than willing to try to work with these people until they start treating me as if I'm dirt because I don't make enough money to pay all the bills. Believe me, if it was up to me, I would make more money and therefore would not have had these problems in the past. Thanks for your input
• India
1 Dec 06
its the part of their job. politeness will not assure getting the bills.
3 people like this
• United States
1 Dec 06
Being nasty and rude is not part of their job. I have to disagree with you. They are calling to try to collect money for bills. I don't know why these people think that if they call someone stupid that they are going to get a dime.
3 people like this
@boeyong (256)
• Malaysia
1 Dec 06
One thing we have to keep in mind, even though I may not agree with their way of being "human". Look at it this way: Bill collectors, no matter how you see them, are employees or contractors at best. They HAVE to collect on what is owed because it is their job. It is NOT their job to be nice - (but of course there ARE bill collectors that are nice - it depends on the bills, the creditor company, what is owed and the amount owed, the time taken as the default period, etc. your personal relationship with the creditor company NOT the bill collectors). If the Bill Collectors don't collect, they may be out of a job and an income. They are also human and also need the money to feed their families. Who knows that their financial situation is. Theirs may be worse off than you and have to depend on the commission from debts collected. If your personal relationship with the creditor company is good, and you make good most of the time on your debts, most probably you won't even see the bill collectors. You might just get a polite reminder from the creditor company. BUT if after everything the creditor company has done and politeness is already not the option since it never worked, THEN you cannot lay blame on anyone but yourself. As the golden rule states "Do unto others what you want others to do unto you". Imagine you are the creditor company. In this day and age, when competition is rife and profits are low and sometimes nonexistent, and your company is struggling to stay afloat (unbeknownst to your debtors, of course), you HAVE to sometimes take the rough path to collect your money. Creditor companies deserve every cent owed them and needs to be collected. Kindness, consideration and other "human" factors are not the issue here. The fact is: You are supposed to pay what you owe - nobody is interested is what you go through - if you didn't have the money on hand, why buy in the first place? Yes, there are emergencies but your problems are your own - the creditors have nothing to do with you and why should they care? You are just another faceless customer. If you always pay on time and hit a hitch once in a blue moon, creditors may oblige you as a matter of courtesy but if you are a bad customer and a potential bad debt statistic, you have to face the circumstances. That's the harsh realities of life. Again, I reiterate, it has nothing to do with "human" factors like kindness and consideration. Business is Business. It does not mix with unnecessary charity. If you are in business and get owed by countless habitual debt defaulters, you will understand what I am talking about. Sorry, if I don't sound nice or considerate but realities are realities and we have to face them - all of us.
• United States
1 Dec 06
yes, business is business...but to tell someone that if they have no health insurance, and their child is sick, don't bother to get them medical attention if you can't pay for it? Threatening with a lawsuit is one thing, basically telling someone that they should have just let their child die, is quite the different type of person.
@findcutegj (1466)
• India
1 Dec 06
I think it's their job so that people easily give the money to them. I think people recrutiing for such jobs deliberately look for such rude and ill mannered persons. Really, its very unfortunate.
• United States
1 Dec 06
It is part of a collector's job to get the bill paid anyway possible so I guess they feel they have to be rude and insulting to get the bill paid. Must work or else they wouldn't do it. However I am not defending them, they are mercenaries who'll do anything for a buck. One has to be a jerk on occasion in certain occupations but most of these collector's seem to enjoy it. I just hope they experience some misfortune someday and have to put up with abuse like that that they dish out.
2 people like this
• United States
1 Dec 06
mercenary...good word for them!...that's exactly what i told her...that i didn't wish anything bad for her children (IF she even had any)but that someday this would definitely come back to bite her in the a.., and that i hope she remembered it. Thank you
@soldenski (2504)
• United States
1 Dec 06
I believe that to have this type of job, you have to have a cold heart. I know they are doing their job, and some of them are not so rude, but for the majority, they just don't care and would say anything to make you feel bad. I had a hospital bill also, our co-pay, is 1500.00 and my son broke his arm and needed surgery, well after we got all the bills, I called to make payment arrangements, they were pretty nice about it, but then we had some money problems and it got nasty for two months...well luckily we got some money and paid it off. Good luck
2 people like this
@emarie (5451)
• United States
1 Dec 06
bill collectors are still some what of customer service...they should still follow the guidlines and be courtious to the clients. in my husbands case, not all the time. when they used to call him, we would explain our situation, try to set up a payment plan and they would just hang up on him. now calling you stupid??? whats that about. just because they're collecting money from you doesn't mean they need to be rude. i think those type of people should be reported to a manger or something. also, some of these people just might be having a bad day...and people always wonder why people hate bill collectors. =)
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Dec 06
thank you for responding..well said
@bamby1983 (286)
• India
1 Dec 06
I think money collectors are rude and unsympathetic mainly because there are people who try to play on their emotions and buy more time. I'm not saying that your problems are not genuine. I'm saying that you'd feel ticked off if someone told you they couldn't pay you back because they had no money and then you later saw them at an expensive restaurant paying the bill. Believe me, a single incident like this is enough to make you frown everytime you hear somebody say they can't pay you back. I know it's hard living form paycheck to paycheck. I personally work 16 hours a day 7 days a week and try to do some side business so I can build up my savings. Maybe you could do some overtime or take up two jobs or an additional part time or Sunday job to generate revenue. It's not always about how much you earn. It's more about how much you save. If you can cut down your needs, you can save a lot more. Try not using the lights or heater or fan as far as possible. Try eatingstuff that will give you the nutrition you need, yet save you money. I'm not saying you should eat horrible tasting food sweating in the dark all your life after working 16 hours a day every day of the week. I'm saying that when you owe somneone money and that money isn't your own, then you sometimes need to make sacrifices to pay them back on time. Your desperation is understandable, and taking your child to a hospital is often nervewrecking, but you can't expect somebody else to pay the price for you. Also, don't wait till the last minute and start saving and slogging when something bad happens. Try to build up considerable savings well in advance. I've worked two days and one nights straight without any sleep when I needed to boost my earnings. I'm not bragging, I'm simply saying that we have alternatives to living paycheck to paycheck. We don't need a car if the bus ride is cheaper. We don't need a microwave if the electric stove is cheaper. there's no need for a TV, and a computer with an internet connection is good only if you use it to earn some money online or working from home. Most people live their lives from paycheck to paycheck not because their earnings are low, but because their wants are higher than what they can afford. The money collector may be mean and rude and you may be in need and helpless, but that doesn't change the fact that you still owe him something he or she is rightly entitled to .. and on time. I sympathize with you and I feel for you, but you and I both know that you cannot expect somebody else to bear the cost of your plight. The day has 24 hours. You need like 7 or 8 hours to sleep, although you'll eventually do pretty well with 5 hours if you get used to it. Try to use every second of your time to earn something or the other from somewhere. You'll be surprised as to how much money you can make. Also, you'll have a lot less time to spend that money, so you'll all probably save a lot more. Good luck and all the best!
• United States
1 Dec 06
Yes, I realize what you're saying....I did all that...believe me, I do not live above my means and am not materialistic. This happened quite a while back and the question I was asking was about the collectors themselves, not the fact that I owed a bill. I was caring for an invalid mother, 2 small children, and 1 income from my husband...there's only so much money to go around, and this was long before homes had PC's....thank you for your input though, and it is still good advise to live by.
• United States
9 Dec 06
Hmm... I think that a lot of the people that are so rudely telling you to just pay your bills and you wouldn't have this problem... are from India - where a lot of places outsource too... and have called me being extremely rude! Like the people from yellow pages. We had to file a police report on them because they were rude - cussing me out - and psychotic in that they kept calling over and over again. And they weren't even trying to collect a bill!
• United States
15 Feb 07
A long time back when I was thinking about changing jobs to make more money I went on an interview with a collections company. I took a big personality/morals test. I thought I did rather well and was rather pleased with myself. They called me back and told me that although I was qualified to do the job I was too nice of a person and the job would tear me up. I am thankful that I didn't get that job because they are right I just couldn't treat people like that.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Feb 07
i am thankful you didn't either. There are far better things to do where you can live with yourself when you come home at night. That just proves that it takes a certain type person to do that job, and I'm glad I'm not one of those, either. Thank you so much for the response.
• United States
21 Jan 07
I think their A--holes,tell them where to go you dont owe them nothing,nothing else hangup on them,I had a bill collector from a Hospitel call me on the day before ChristmasEve,and it wasnt a good Day for me i had 3 small children and Christmas was going to be Blick at are house that year,and i told her you should have been born a man cause you got alot of Ba--s to call me before Christmas Eve,My kids Are not having a Christmas and your worried about a bill,I gave her my address and told her if she thought she was big enough to come over and she could collect it,and hung up the phone i never heard from them again.when you dont have the money you dont have it,so just hang up on them,their not worth messing with as far as im concern.Donna Cabrera
• United States
21 Jan 07
Wow...good for you!...i know i could not treat anyone the way these people do...i'm not made that way...thanks for responding
• United States
3 Jan 07
HAHAHAH!!YESSS!!ohh girll i have been there and its not pretty!! I have a friend that does this in Pittsburgh PA,and they do actually train you to be rude,mean,and take no prisoners!!and to never take no for an answer..there worse than salesman!!! lol When i had to wait for my social security.,i waited 9 mths with only $176 a month..and my rent is like 560!!anyways i was so behind..and still am trying to get caught up../and i was on the phone with one guy..he had thsi deep,mean voice about him.,.,and i told him about my problems...and that i was sorry but hed was in line with everyone else..he didnt like that..and told me to send money now or id go to jail..lol whatever!!!!im not stupid..and ii hung up..that SOB CALLED ME EVERY 20 MINS TILL MIDNIGHT!! EVERY DAY!!!GOT A WEEK..then i got a hold of the supervisor..and told him what was happeneing..and he said he would talk to him..a day later it started again..soooo i was ready next time..this is somehting you can actually do..its against the law tfor them to harass us..well i tld him he was being traced,,and that he has been harassing me and its against the law..and i was done with him..and i was pressing charges against him and his company...he hung up..and he never called me back again!! ever! lol lol..
• United States
21 Jan 07
lol..good for you!...thank you for the response!
@Horizons (54)
• United States
2 Dec 06
I think it takes a particular type of personality to do a job like this; I'm sorely tempted to say these are probably the same kids who - as children - beat up the other kids on the playground and stole their lunch money! Seriously though, they are apparently trained to act in this manner, because I've yet to encounter any bill collector who wasn't, for lack of a better term, a bully. Fortunately, my experience is limited. I do have to wonder, though, just what type of person would want to do a job like this. Most people have a heart, or a conscience, and just couldn't keep up the act. Bill collectors are either uncaring, unfeeling jerks or they are better actors than those who win academy awards - because they almost universally act like uncaring, unfeeling jerks.
• United States
2 Dec 06
very good way of looking at it...and i think you're right..how can someone with the least bit of conscience go home at night and feel good about what they accomplished at work?...thank you very much for your input
• United States
2 Dec 06
i had my probleams and had them calling too and most just want there money and they dont car how you feel or it you cant afford to pay the bill but i have one that is very nice and is working with us.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Dec 06
you're very lucky...thanks for responding
1 Dec 06
it is because when they get the job to collect bills they have their heart ripped out
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Dec 06
lol...excellent response...thanks
@Shadetail (103)
1 Dec 06
I agree with what your stating there. I think that the job requires an interview, and they find out just how cold a person is there and then. However, i guess its part of the job to be emotionless and just get on with it, and so it may eventually become a part of them too. If you worked with psychopaths and violent people, your likely to get violent more easily and angry alot, because the atmosphere tends to rub off onto us. Its just natural.
• United States
1 Dec 06
very good points..thanks for your input