Manassas, VA – 22 July 2013 – One of my favorite songs from the 1980’s is Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror. This was an anthem of sorts for self-help where the lyrics called upon people everywhere to take a hard look at themselves and the world and make a change.
That is exactly what this industry needs to do. For years there have been calls for unity, but unity will never come to fruition when you yourself are conflicted or are unable or unwilling to stand up for yourself. The industry is grasping desperately for anything that promises change, yet when push comes to shove very few are willing to do what needs to be done themselves.
Aristotle is given credit for the quote: “The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts”. This is supposed to mean that an entirety of something (let’s say – the entire repossession industry) is stronger or better than the pieces that comprise it (let’s say – the individual repossession companies that comprise it). But on the flip side of that coin is “The Chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”
You each want an end to contingent contracts, an end to forwarders, an end to free keys, free storage, free transportation and to the absurdly low fees that you’re currently accepting. Yet…most will sign contingent contracts, work for forwards (promoting their success in the industry, not yours), provide free keys, free storage, free transportation and will do it all for pre-1980’s fees of $225 per repo. Even if you’re doing “their” work on the side, you’re still doing it, giving them positive results.
Each major trade association in the industry has stood up at their meetings at some point and talked about how detrimental this is. But how many of you are still doing it? Or how many of you have BECOME it yourselves in order to try to survive? How many of you are accepting a client assignment, taking your share off the top and are asking your brother/sister in industry to do more for less? So if your chosen association has said it should end, and every group at some point has shared the same voice…then why hasn’t it ended already?
There have been calls by some in the industry to have insurance carriers tell you that you can’t do work for these companies, but you won’t make the decision for yourself not to do it. You complain to your insurance provider about having to give them too much information, about having to get driver’s approved, etc. yet when you don’t get pricing you want, don’t get that driver that you have to have added or find out that claim is not covered – you shop your coverage and find a carrier that you hope will. It isn’t up to the insurance carrier to make business decisions for you. As insurance providers, RSIG and Recovery First have repeatedly pointed out potential insurance issues with these contracts, yet within seconds of the send button being hit on the email or the article being posted, you are asking for certificates for these companies and you’re doing their work.
Calls for unity in the industry will never work until you can trust your brother or sister in the industry not to say one thing and do another. It will never work for the industry to say NO, but for you individually to say YES!
So back to the lyrics…
I’m starting with the Man in the Mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer, If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.
Only after you have changed your own mind set, will change happen and at that point and that point only will the collective voice of the industry be heard.
From the desk of: Dana Loan, Recovery Specialist Insurance Group
 Lyrics. “Man in the Mirror”. Written by: Glen Ballard & Siedah Garrett. Performed by: Michael Jackson. Released: Jan 1988, Bad. Produced by: Quincy Jones. http://www.metrolyrics.com/man-in-the-mirror-lyrics-michael-jackson.html