Q: Is my institution required to notify me before turning my account over to Coast Professional?

A: Most institutions generally send out a notice prior to assigning a debt to Coast Professional. However, they are not required to make sure it reached the addressee.

Q: I received a letter in the mail. Who should I contact?

A: Depending on the P.O. Box return at the top left of the letter, Coast has established various methods of communication. Please see the ‘Consumer Access’ section for more information.

Q: What do I do if a Coast Professional representative contacts me?

A: It is important that you respond as soon as possible. If you don’t, Coast Professional will continue to try to reach you to collect what we believe is a valid debt. If you owe the bill, we can help you figure out ways to pay it. See ‘Consumer Access’ for more information.

Q: Why can’t I just continue making payments directly to my institution?

A: Once a debt is assigned to a collection agency, that agency becomes responsible for collecting the debt, and is the only one that can arrange payment terms.

Q: When are Coast Professional representatives allowed to call me?

A: According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), an agency may only call at hours presumed to be convenient for the consumer — generally, between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time. If these hours are inconvenient for you, you may ask your Coast representative to contact you at a more convenient time.

Q: Can Coast Professional contact other people and discuss my bill?

A: Coast Professional is legally empowered to contact other people to locate a borrower. However, our representatives will never discuss an accounts status with anyone other than the borrower, unless we are authorized to do so by that borrower.

Q: Can Coast Professional contact my employer?

A: Yes, we may contact your employer to verify your employment, to verify your business location, or in the event we have obtained a judgment against you, to garnish your wages.

Q: Can Coast Professional contact me at my place of employment?

A: Yes, however we will not if we know that your employer prohibits you from receiving such communication. If you do not want to be contacted at work, you can request that we not telephone or send you written notices. Be sure to make your request to Coast Professional in writing.

Q: How do I stop Coast Professional from contacting me?

A: If you want Coast Professional to stop contacting you, you may:

  • Pay the outstanding balance in full.
  • Set up an automatic payment arrangement.
  • Request, in writing, that we do not contact you anymore.

Remember, if you request no further contact, and your debt is still outstanding, you are still responsible for resolving that debt.

Q: Does Coast Professional have to accept partial payments?

A: It is at our client’s discretion what type of payments to accept on behalf of their institution.

Q: What about oral (unwritten) payment plans?

A: The same conditions apply to unwritten agreements as do the written agreements. Both are contracts between you and Coast Professional.

Q: What if I can’t make the payments I agreed to make?

A: As soon as possible, contact your representative at Coast Professional before you miss a payment or send a partial payment. Explain the problem and what you plan to do to solve it and catch up on your payments. Your representative may be able to work with you.

Q: What if the bill has been paid or I feel I do not owe the bill?

A: If you feel that you do not owe the bill, or if the bill has already been paid, send Coast Professional a written explanation along with copies of receipts, cancelled checks, and any other information to back up your claim. It is important to send your letter within 30 days after you were first contacted by Coast Professional. Once we receive your dispute letter, we will immediately stop all attempts to collect the debt until/unless we verify that you are responsible for the debt, and that amount due is correct.

Q: What security measures does Coast have in place to protect personal and confidential information?

A: Information security is paramount at Coast. We have strict internal protocols in place that ensure consumer and client documentation is protected from the moment it is entrusted to us until the moment it is destroyed and disposed of in accordance with information security best practices and client contractual requirements. Our facilities feature extensive physical security and work areas with access restricted to just employees who are assigned to that collection program. All workstations require employee-specific user IDs and strong passwords, which are changed at regular intervals. Cell phones and digital recording devices are not permitted at any time on our premises, which further protect the highly sensitive information with which we work. All employee orientations include our privacy policy.

Q: How does Coast locate hard-to-find consumers?

A: Coast has invested substantial company resources in cutting edge skip tracing tools for our collection teams. These tools give us an edge in locating student consumers efficiently which permits faster collection for our clients’ accounts. Our collection representatives utilize multiple state-of-the-art tools, all from their desks. Coast also uses batch processing for skip tracing accounts in large groups of accounts, when necessary.

  • Crisscross Name and Address
  • Multiple Phone Numbers including Cell Phones
  • Full Credit Bureau Report
  • Crisscross References, Relatives, Nearbys and Affiliates
  • Property Search
  • Professional Organizations Search
  • Media Research
  • Additional Client Media Requested
  • Job search, using proprietary place of employment locators
  • Internet Social Media and Database Searches

As part of our standard reporting, we provide a list of any updated addresses, phone numbers, or other demographic information that we find during the skip tracing process. We provide this information update on a monthly basis with our other standard reports. This report can be provided either electronically on in hard copy.

Q: What experience does Coast Professional have recovering educational receivables?

A: Coast Professional has served the collections industry for more than forty years, and we have decades of experience collecting for the higher education and government industries. We are the vendor of choice for hundreds of colleges and universities across the nation. We have been a Private Collection Agency (PCA) to the United States Department of Education for more than 10 years, consistently being one of the Department’s top performing and compliant agencies. In fact, Coast is only one of two contractors to have achieved a perfect 100 Competitive Performance and Continuous Surveillance (CPCS) score for four consecutive quarters for the Department.

Q: What experience does Coast Professional have recovering government receivables?

A: Since 1976, Coast has provided collection agency services for clients across the United States. We successfully collect for hundreds of clients, including government agencies and the United States Department of Education. Coast has experience working with large Federal government agencies and their various debt types. Our executive team alone has more than a century of combined experience in collections.

Q: Why is it important to use a compliant collection agency?

A: Collection agencies are a third party vendor that act on your behalf to collect past due debt and receivables. Their actions have a direct result on your institution. Using an agency that is a member of ACA International and that adheres to all local, state, and federal regulations governing the collection industry will protect your institution from fines associated with illegal practices, as well as from potential lawsuits from consumers. Most of all, by working with an agency committed to the highest ethical practices, your institution will protect its reputation with the public.

At Coast, compliance is found in every aspect of our business. We’ve developed a significant compliance department which monitors representative calls and client contracts, handles legal/regulatory issues, implements adjustments due to regulatory changes, and constantly monitors all areas of our business for continued compliance.

Q: Where is Coast Professional licensed to collect?

A: Coast Professional, Inc. is fully licensed and bonded to do business in all states and jurisdictions that have licensing requirements. Coast can collect debt anywhere in the United States.

Q: What professional organizations does Coast Professional belong to?

A: Coast is dedicated to being an active participant in the collection, higher education, and government industries. We currently belong to the following organizations:

  • Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA International)
  • Coalition of Higher Education and Assistance Organizations (COHEAO)
  • East Coast Higher Education Assistance Organization (ECHEAO)
  • Educational Accounts Receivable Management Association (EARMA)
  • Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA)
  • Higher Education Assistance Receivables Organization (HEARO)
  • Midwestern States Association of Tax Administrators (MSATA)
  • Minnesota Collections Network for Student Loans/Receivables
  • National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)
  • Northeastern States Tax Officials Associations (NESTOA)
  • Ontario Systems Higher Education Vendors’ Conference
  • Pacific Western Student Financial Services Association (PAC WEST SFS)
  • Professional Development Group (PDG)
  • Western States Association of Tax Administrators (WSATA)
  • Western Student Financial Services (WSFS, formerly PAC 10)
  • Coast is also a member of multiple regional and national higher education organizations

Q: What is Coast Professional’s collections approach?

A: Our Mission is to preserve the integrity and reputation of the institutions we serve throughout the collection process. We increase our clients’ profitability by helping consumers address their obligations while enhancing their future financial opportunities. We are dedicated to delivering superior customer service to both our clients and their consumers and maintaining our status as experts in the field of debt collection.

Q: What forms of payment does Coast accept?

A: Depending on the type of debt and our client’s requirements, Coast Professional can accept payments via the following:

  • ACH / check-by-phone
  • Debit Cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, ATM Debit, Etc.)
  • Cashier’s Checks
  • Personal Checks
  • Third-Party Checks
  • Wire Transfers
  • Western Union

Q: How experienced are Coast Professional’s employees in the debt recovery industry?

A: Our seasoned staff has an in-depth understanding of various federal programs, institutional programs, collection procedures, rehabilitation options, consumer’s rights and responsibilities, legal remedies, and accounts receivables. Prior to commencing any collection activity, all employees must pass the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) regulations test developed by ACA International. Our management team has a combined total of more than 300 years of experience in the collection industry. We hire the brightest minds who contribute years of experience and understanding to our firm.

Q: How does Coast collect on low-balance accounts vs. high-balance accounts?

A: Coast Professional’s debt management counselors maintain a desk load of 400 to 700 accounts, with balances ranging from $30.00 to over $30,000.00. All accounts are worked diligently from day one. All accounts referred to us for collection receive our extensive collection efforts, regardless of balance.

Q: Does Coast litigate accounts?

A: Coast Professional understands that litigation is sometimes a necessary tool in the process of collections. Our legal department is very knowledgeable in the debt litigation process. The decision to file suit is usually made when the consumer has the ability to pay but refuses to do so, and all other collection attempts have failed. Once the decision has been made to take legal action, we perform a full asset investigation to assess the consumer’s true financial status. If Coast determines that the account meets the criteria for litigation, and the collection manager deems the account suit-worthy, our legal department submits a request for a suit authorization to our client. Once our client approves the suit authorization, we pursue legal action on behalf of our client. Coast Professional works closely with our legal team and clients to ensure that the most expeditious and cost-effective judicial remedies are used to satisfy every judgment.

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