Library Collection Agency
The Rio Rancho Public Library uses a collection agency, Unique Management Services, to encourage patrons to return their overdue materials to the library or pay for replacing lost or damaged items. This process addresses in a fair and responsible way the problem created when some patrons make library materials unavailable to other borrowers, while giving patrons plenty of reminders to clear their accounts with the library before their credit is affected.
It is the patron’s responsibility to keep track of when their library books and materials are due, not the library’s; however, the library helps by sending the patron a courtesy notification by phone or email when their library materials are 14 days overdue. Accounts are not referred to the collection agency until they are 72 days (more than 10 weeks) overdue, so there is plenty of time to return forgotten materials before the collection agency process and its fee take effect.
Once the materials are 72 days overdue, the account goes automatically to the collection agency. At this point the patron incurs a $15 fee, which must be paid even if the library materials are returned or paid for. The cost for the collection agency service is paid from the $15 fee that is charged to each patron whose account gets referred to the agency. The money the patron pays to replace lost or damaged materials goes back into the library’s book budget so that replacements can be purchased without cutting into the funds for new books and AV materials.
What happens when the collection agency handles the account? First the agency’s staff send the patron a letter and if there’s no response, they send a second letter three weeks later. Two weeks after that, the patron will receive a phone call. Then there are additional phone calls and letters, for a period of 120 days in all. If after 120 days the patron has not responded and settled the account, the account will be reported to the three major credit reporting agencies, and the patron’s credit rating will be affected.
The library’s use of the collection agency is a fair solution to a difficult problem. It has been working very successfully to get materials returned to the library and to get funds to replace lost and damaged materials. Nevertheless, the preferred outcome is to avoid overdues. If patrons need more time to read a book they can renew the loan online, by telephone, or in person, while materials can be returned day or night to our book-drops.
If you have any questions about the collection agency process and policy, please contact the customer service desk at the Loma Colorado Main Library or call (505)891-5013, Ext. 3081.