Spain’s collection agents practice public humiliation

From Spain’s collection agents practice public humiliation.

Jose Romero remembers the farmer from Alicante. The man owed money – a lot of it – and Mr. Romero sent one of his agents to collect the debt. When the collector arrived, the farmer told him to wait while he went in the house to get the payment. A few minutes later, the farmer came out with his rifle, shooting and yelling "Take that, Zorro!" The collector ran for the car, his black cape flapping behind him.

It wasn’t a scene from a movie. Every day in Spain, collectors disguised as monks, bagpipe players, bullfighters, and, yes, Zorro, attempt to get the recalcitrant to make good on their debts. (…)

"Personal honor, your public image, is still very important in Spain," says Zorro’s Romero. "If one of our agents shows up at an apartment, everyone in the building is going to know there’s a debtor there." Sometimes, the agent doesn’t even have to say a word — the briefcases and cars emblazoned with the words "debt collectors" do the work for him. "If a guy goes into a restaurant and four ‘monks’ come in after him and sit down at the next table," says González, "everyone is going to know he owes money." [continue]