a. Patrons should be given a receipt for every payment.
b. This receipt will serve as proof of payment in the event of a dispute.
2. $10 Service Charge
a. Once the UMS collection process has begun, the patron is responsible for the $10 UMS service charge. b. The $10 UMS service charge can only be waived if the library failed to check in an item after it was returned by a patron.
c. The “double check-in” process is designed to minimize these costly errors.
d. Patrons who claim to have returned an item which cannot be found in the stacks must still pay the $10 UMS service charge, even if the item is classified as “claims returned.”
3. Damaged Items
a. Patrons should be charged for damaged items immediately.
b. Patrons should be notified of charges for damaged items as soon as possible.
a. Patrons who return incomplete items (snags) should be given notification of the problem as soon as possible.
b. Staff member discovering the snag should fill out a Snag Slip with complete information including date and initials. If possible, call the patron and record the results. If time does not permit, put on desk of Circulation Supervisor.
c. Note will be put on patron’s card that item is on Snag shelf. Renew item if possible.
d. After one month, if item has not been returned, another attempt will be made to contact patron by phone or email.
e. After 60 days, cost of item will be charged to patron and item will be removed from snag shelf and housed for one year on the Archived Snag Shelf. (Date noted on spine)
f. Also after 60 days, the Acquisitions Librarian will be notified to see if replacement copy should be ordered.
5. Claims Returned
a. If a patron claims to have returned an item, a circulation staff member should check the stacks to make sure that the item has not been shelved.
b. If the item is found in the stacks, the staff member should check it in and waive any fines and/or fees including UMS charges.
c. If the item is not found in the stacks, mark it as “claims returned.” Inform the patron that s/he is still responsible for any UMS service
charge(s), which must be paid in order to suspend the UMS collection process.
d. Marking an item as “claims returned” does not automatically suspend the UMS collection process.
To suspend the UMS collection process a patron must pay the UMS fines and fees to bring their account to 0.
6. Payment Plans
a. Patrons who request a payment plan should be asked to fill out the Payment Plan Agreement, pay the $10 UMS service charge, and pay the first monthly installment as defined in the Payment Plan Agreement. A staff member must initial the Payment Plan Agreement. Give one copy of the Payment Plan to the patron and submit a second copy to the Assistant Director.
b. Scheduled monthly payments must be at least $10 or 10% of the total amount owed, whichever is greater.
c. Patrons whose UMS accounts have been suspended because of a payment plan are still responsible for the $10 UMS service charge. Borrowing privileges will not be restored until a patron owes less than $6.00.
d. Failure to comply with the terms of the payment plan (within a two-week grace period) will constitute grounds for resuming the UMS collection process. The Assistant Director will review suspended accounts on a regular basis to confirm compliance.
7. Collection Agency Process Suspension
To suspend the collection agency process:
a. An e-mail may be sent to the Assistant Director with the patron’s name, account number, reason for
suspension, and expiration date of suspension. OR
b. A completed copy of the Collection Agency Process Suspension form may be submitted to the Assistant Director.
8. Overdue Fines & Service Charges
a. The library will still accept $10 as full payment for all overdue fines, waiving the remainder.
b. Patrons will still be responsible for any UMS service charges, such that a patron with fines over $10 and one or more $10 UMS service charges will owe a minimum of $20.
9. Frequently Asked Questions
a. “I returned that item, so why was I charged?”
Answer: I’ll check the shelves and the snag shelf to see if we have the item.
b. “Even though you can’t find it on your shelves, I still say that I returned that item, so why should I have to pay the $10 service charge?”
Answer: Once the collection agency process has been activated, the $10 service charge is automatic.
c. “I don’t have the money to settle my account, but I don’t want to be reported to a credit agency, so what can I do?”
Answer: A payment plan may be arranged. You need to fill out the library’s Payment Plan Agreement, pay the $10 collection service charge, and pay the first monthly installment of the payment plan.
10. Juvenile Patrons: Juvenile accounts are not credit reported because the parent or guardian is ultimately the responsible party for the juvenile’s debt. It also protects patron goodwill for the library when we avoid the image of credit reporting children.