Bill and account collectors locate and seek payment from people, called debtors, who have overdue bills.
Bill and account collectors contact debtors to inform them of the overdue amount. If necessary, they go over the terms of the sale, service, or credit contract with the customers. Collectors try to learn why the payment is late. When debtors are unemployed or have other debts, collectors may provide credit counseling. In addition, they try to work out payment plans with debtors.
When customers agree to pay, collectors note this in the records and check that the payments are made. If customers do not pay, collectors may turn the account over to a lawyer. Sometimes collectors have the debtors’ services disconnected or belongings repossessed if payments are not made.
Collectors often need to locate debtors who moved and do not leave a new address. They check with the post office, telephone companies, credit bureaus, or former neighbors to obtain a debtor's new address. This process is called skip tracing. Once they find debtors, collectors update their addresses in the database or file, and contact them.
Many collectors handle administrative tasks for their accounts. For example, they keep records of their contacts with debtors. Some fill out daily reports of their actions. In some companies, collectors receive the payments and post them to the accounts.