For as long as people have been trading for goods and services, there have been people aiming to try and take advantage of others. Individuals who tilt the playing field in their favor, by either skirting the bounds of the law or by violating it outright. In every industry today, there are bad actors and rogue companies that flout laws and regulations aimed at keeping the playing field level for all participants.

The same can be said for the accounts receivable management industry. There are companies that will lie to individuals about what might happen if a debt is not paid, in an attempt to intimidate or coerce the individual into making a payment. Oftentimes, the debt that in question does not exist at all, or has already been paid.

But, as The Osmonds famously sang, “Don’t let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch, girl.” The overwhelming majority of companies in the accounts receivable management industry are upstanding companies that follow the laws and regulations to make sure they collect debt the right way. If you saw on the news something about a doctor who was committing malpractice toward his or her patients, would you think all doctors are bad? If you read an article about a car dealership that was fleecing customers, would you refrain from ever buying a car again? Probably not, in both cases.

Many companies in the accounts receivable management industry are upstanding members not just of the industry, but of their communities as well. They participate in charity drives and donate time, money, and other items to help the less fortunate in their cities and states. They understand the importance of being involved in their communities, not just because it is good PR, but because it’s what we’re supposed to do — help those who need it.

It’s easy to paint an industry like this one with a broad brush whenever you hear about a company that is trying to take advantage of consumers. Debt collection companies start with a two-strike count by the very nature of the business they conduct. But collection agencies are an important part of the credit lifecycle. Without collection agencies, lenders, healthcare providers, cell phone companies, and utilities would all have to charge more to cover their losses from the amounts that consumers do not pay. But don’t rush to judge all agencies on the actions of a very small number of bad actors. One bad apple does not always spoil the bunch.