Debt collectors try to show their soft side

Debt collectors have decided that they want you to like them, they really do. The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, the industry's trade group, has taken to referring to debtors as their agency's "customers." I'm all for euphemisms, but isn't that kind of like referring to inmates as the prison's "preferred clients?"

On its website, the association brags that "The collection industry saved the average American household $351 in 2005. This amount represents dollars households would have spent if businesses were forced to raise prices to cover bad debt."

OK then. The ACA's general counsel told the New York Times that "Collectors actually care about consumers. They want to teach consumers how to get out of debt. They're trying to put themselves out of business."

Hold on, what? Why would debt collectors want to put themselves out of business? Are we actually supposed to believe that.

It isn't that I have a problem with debt collectors. I don't. I think that if someone fails to pay off a debt as they agreed to, the people who lent them the money have every right to take steps to collect. That's fair, and I don't understand why the industry feels a need to apologize for that by calling the debtors "customers" when the reality is that the customers are the banks. There's nothing wrong with that!

They're making themselves look silly playing the role of consumer's best friend. Why don't they just accept that their job is to twist arms and collect debt, own it, and be proud?

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