Dealing With The Debts Of A Vulnerable Person
Pursuing our client’s unpaid debt is always a sensitive issue, however in recent years there has been a rise in cases that involve those that are classed as ‘vulnerable customers’. Generally a person is considered to be vulnerable if their circumstances are impacting on their ability to pay their debts, for example:
- Older people (those over 70 or those over 60 who reside in sheltered accommodation)
- Disabled people
- The seriously ill
- The recently bereaved
- Single parent families
- Pregnant women
- Those who have difficulty understanding, speaking or reading English
In response Alex M Adamson established a specialised Customer Assistance Team (CAT) to help deal with the growing number of vulnerable customers. The team were set up specifically to deal with complex cases where there are indications of vulnerability such as those listed above and they therefore require extra assistance. Team members are trained to recognise signs of vulnerability and to understand an individual’s circumstances in order to provide effective and suitable repayment options tailored to suit.
Each vulnerable customer is provided with a named personal contact within the team so the customer can feel more comfortable whilst they are attempting to resolve the situation. In order to ensure the customer has the support required CAT members then outline the options customers have in reaching an appropriate agreement. As well as providing further assistance on debt advice and contact details for various debt advice agencies depending on the nature of the situation.
The purpose of the Customer Assistance Team is to reach an appropriate settlement agreement for all involved, whilst remaining considerate towards the individual’s circumstances & reassuring customers that they are aware there can be difficulties in making payments towards the arrears and they are providing an avenue to resolve the matter.
Emma, the AMA Customer Assistance Team leader, expands on this approach:
“By identifying that someone is a ‘vulnerable customer’ this allows us to deal with them appropriately and now this designated Customer Assistance Team can work to the best of their ability to collect debt as fairly and efficiently as possible. If a customer is identified as ‘vulnerable’ a member of the phone team will send a letter to them directing them to myself. As the team leader of the CAT I have been trained on how to deal with these accounts in a sensitive manner by being empathetic and understanding but also keeping in mind that we are still dealing with outstanding debt that must be paid in an affordable manner.”