July 25, 20170

Bankruptcy in Australia – What To Understand about Debt Collection

Posted by:Charles Bosse onJuly 25, 2017

A lot of individuals wrestle with financial difficulties at some time in their lives, and most of these people are likely to be familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is a person whose job is to collect debts on behalf of a company. A debt collector can either be an employee of an organisation you owe money to, or they could be a third party working with a creditor. As you can envision, it’s not an easy task to squeeze money out of people who simply don’t have any. It would be safe to say that most people in debt are already pressured about their financial complications, and people phoning them to remind them of this doesn’t always end well. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of unfavourable associations. There have been plenty of cases of people being harassed by debt collectors so it’s imperative that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors are aware of their rights and effective ways to deal with these types of communications.

Learn about Your Legal Rights.

Being aware of what debt collectors can and can’t do is vital in being able to appropriately manage any communications 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 valuable to understand how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by phone, mail, emails, social media or by seeing you face to face. Any time you have interactions with debt collectors, it’s essential that you keep a document of such correspondence including the date and time of contact, the means of contact (letter, phone, person), the debt collector’s name and business name, and what was said during the interaction. It’s also relevant to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and supplying your financial information to another party without your approval 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 each month).

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 addressed any of their prior 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 correspondence can not be viewed by anyone but you.

If you do agree to meet a debt collector face to face, 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 warm and give you a range of debt relief alternatives. Their job is to urge you to repay as much of your debt as possible, as quickly as possible. So, the best thing to do is to understand what your debt relief options are. You can perform some research on the web to discover what alternatives you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most businesses will offer free advice in the beginning). Once you understand what options you have, you’ll be more confident in dealing with debt collector’s threats or demands, or any other collection tactics. If you don’t understand what your options are, it makes the job of the debt collector easier by having the opportunity to dictate the conversation and advising you of what alternatives you have, whether they’re true or not.

It’s always a tricky situation when you come into contact with debt collectors. Their job is very difficult, and they’ll use any methods possible for you to repay your debt since the quantity of debt you repay and how quickly you repay it determines the commissions that debt collectors receive from lenders. The best way to handle interactions with debt collectors is to understand your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, document all communications, and understanding what debt relief options you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will dramatically improve your communications with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add even more stress to your current financial condition. If you need any advice about what debt relief opportunities you have, speak with the professionals at Fresh Start Solutions Canberra on 1300 818 575 or visit their website for more information: http://freshstartsolutions.com.au/bankruptcy-canberra.

Sources.

https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/debt-debt-collection/dealing-with-debt-collectors.

 

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