Many individuals deal with financial difficulties at some point in their lives, and the majority of these people are quite likely to be familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is an individual whose job is to collect debts on behalf of an organisation. A debt collector can either be an employee of an enterprise you owe money to, or they could be a third party working with a lender. As you can picture, it’s not a simple task to squeeze money out of people who don’t have any. It would be fair to say that many people in debt are already strained about their financial challenges, and other people calling them to remind them of this doesn’t always end well. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of negative connotations. There have been a large number of cases of people being harassed by debt collectors so it’s important that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors are aware of their rights and the best ways to deal with these kinds of communications.
Learn about Your Legal Rights.
Understanding what debt collectors can and can’t do is essential in being able to adequately manage any interactions you may have with them. Under Australian Consumer Law, a debt collector must not:
Use any physical force or coercion (forcing you to do something).
Hassle or harass you to an unreasonable extent.
Mislead or deceive you (or attempting to do so).
Take advantage of people that are vulnerable, disabled, or have any other similar circumstances affecting them.
Not only do these laws concern a debt collector’s behaviour towards you, but additionally your partner or spouse, family members, or anyone else connected with you. If you find yourself in a position where a debt collecting is breaking these Laws, make a formal complaint to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)1.
How And When Debt Collectors Can Contact You.
It’s equally necessary to be aware of how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, letters, emails, social media or by seeing you in person. Any time you have correspondences with debt collectors, it’s important that you keep a record of such correspondence including the date and time of contact, the methods of contact (person, email, phone), the debt collector’s name and company name, and what was said during the interaction. It’s also valuable to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and supplying your financial information to another party without your permission is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also stipulates that:.
Debt collectors can only make up to three telephone calls or letters each week (or 10 monthly).
Debt collectors can only phone you between 7:30 am and 9pm on weekdays and 9am to 9pm on weekends.
Debt collectors can only make face-to-face contact between 9am and 9pm on weekdays and weekends, once a month, and can only visit you if you haven’t responded to any of their past attempts at communication.
There is to be no contact from debt collectors on national public holidays.
Debt collectors must be reasonably sure that if they contact you electronically (social media or email), that your account is not shared with another person and their communication can not be seen by anyone but you.
If you do agree to meet a debt collector personally, any threats of assault or violence should be reported to the police immediately1.
Know What Options You Have.
A debt collector’s job is not to be polite and give you a series of debt relief solutions. Their job is to urge you to repay as much of your debt as possible, as fast as possible. So, the best thing to do is to understand what your debt relief options are. You can carry out some research on the web to search for what options you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most businesses will offer free advice initially). Once you recognise what alternatives you have, you’ll be more confident in managing debt collector’s threats or demands, or any other collection tactics. If you don’t know what your options are, it makes the job of the debt collector much easier by having the chance to govern the interaction and informing you of what alternatives you have, whether they’re true or not.
It’s always a challenging situation when you come into contact with debt collectors. Their job is very difficult, and they’ll use any way possible for you to repay your debt since the quantity of debt you repay and how fast you repay it determines the commissions that debt collectors receive from creditors. The best way to handle interactions with debt collectors is to recognise your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, document all communications, and knowing what debt relief possibilities you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will substantially improve your correspondences with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add more stress to your current financial predicament. If you need any advice about what debt relief choices you have, talk to the professionals at Liquidation Service on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for additional information: www.liquidationservice.com.au.