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Debt collector jobs can be in a number of different industries, but generally fall into several broad categories. Debt collector jobs can be found in in-house collection agencies or in collection houses that debts are sold to after the in-house creditors fail to collect the unpaid balance of debts. Often, those who work in the field of debt collecting work partially on a commission basis, receiving a relatively low base salary with the opportunity to earn a percentage of any debts collected.
The function of a debt collector is to contact individuals who are behind in their bills and attempt to obtain payments from those debtors. Thus, debt collectors can work in any industry in which a person may owe money. Commonly, debt collectors work for credit card companies, student loan companies, car loan or financing companies, mortgage companies and banks. Debt collector jobs may also exist in other fields in which a person assumes a legal responsibility to pay; for example, a debt collector could work for a cellular telephone company and attempt to collect unpaid monthly bills from consumers. It is also very common for debt collectors to collect unpaid medical bills.
Some debt collector jobs are in house, which means the debt collector works for the original lender. For example, if Citibank issues a credit card and someone defaults, Citibank will utilize an in-house collector first to try to collect the debt. The in-house collectors are all employees of Citibank and collect debts only for that company.
Other collectors work for debt collections companies whose only purpose is to collect unpaid debts. These external collections agencies do not actually lend money to consumers themselves. Instead, they buy debt for pennies on the dollar from other creditors who have proven unable to collect the debt. If they are able to collect even a small amount of the unpaid balance, they often make a profit since they paid so little to purchase the debt in the first place.
Debt collectors can use a number of tactics, including guilt or repeated telephone calls, to attempt to collect the unpaid balance of debts. The debt collectors, however, must comply with laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which prohibit them from making overt threats or harassing a debtor. The more persuasive a debt collector is at getting individuals to send in debt payments, the more lucrative the debt collector jobs can be.