|July 25, 2017||0|
Many people encounter financial hardship at some point in their lives, and the majority of these people are probably familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is an individual whose job is to collect debts on behalf of an enterprise. A debt collector can either be an employee of a business you owe money to, or they could be a third party working with a lender. As you can imagine, it’s not an easy task to squeeze money out of people who don’t have any. Most people in debt are already stressed about their financial difficulties, and other people contacting them to remind them of this doesn’t always end smoothly. Consequently, debt collectors have a lot of adverse associations. There have been lots of cases of people being harassed by debt collectors so it’s vital that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors are aware of their rights and how to handle these sorts of interactions.
Learn about Your Legal Rights.
Understanding what debt collectors can and can’t do is vital in having the ability 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 end up 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 essential to be aware of how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by phone, letters, emails, social media or by visiting you face to face. Each time you have interactions with debt collectors, it’s vital that you keep a document of such communication including the time and date of contact, the means of contact (phone, email, 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 states that:
Debt collectors can only make up to three telephone calls or letters per 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 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 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 options. Their task is to persuade you to repay as much of your debt as possible, as fast as possible. So, the best thing to do is to be aware of what your debt relief alternatives 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 companies will offer free advice at the beginning). Once you are aware of what choices you have, you’ll be more confident in handling 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 much easier by being able to control the interaction and instructing you of what choices 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 correspondences with debt collectors is to realise your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, record all communications, and understanding what debt relief options you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will certainly improve your interactions 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 possibilities you have, get in contact with the professionals at Fresh Start Solutions Gold Coast on 1300 818 575 or visit their website for more information: http://freshstartsolutions.com.au/bankruptcy-goldcoast.