|July 25, 2017||0|
Many individuals face financial distress at some time in their lives, and the majority of these individuals are probably 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 a firm you owe money to, or they can be a third party working with a creditor. As you can imagine, it’s not a straightforward task to squeeze money out of people who have none. Most people in debt are already pressured about their financial problems, and other people phoning them to remind them of this doesn’t always end well. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of negative associations. There have been a large number of cases of people being harassed by debt collectors so it’s crucial that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors understand their rights and how to handle these sorts of interactions.
Understand Your Legal Rights.
Understanding what debt collectors can and can’t do is very important in having the ability to adequately manage any correspondences 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 involve a debt collector’s behaviour towards you, but also your partner or spouse, family members, or anyone else associated 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 likewise vital to understand how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, mail, emails, social media sites or by visiting you in person. Every time you have communications with debt collectors, it’s essential that you maintain a record of such interaction including the time and date of contact, the methods of contact (person, email, phone), the debt collector’s name and business name, and what was said during the interaction. It’s also crucial to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and providing your financial info to another party without your consent is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also stipulates that:
Debt collectors can only make up to three phone calls or letters per 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 answered any of their previous 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 courteous and give you a variety of debt relief alternatives. 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 recognise what your debt relief alternatives are. You can carry out some research on the net to find what possibilities 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 self-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 opportunity to govern the interaction and telling 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 means 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 lenders. The best way to handle communications with debt collectors is to recognise your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, document all communications, and understanding what debt relief possibilities you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will certainly improve your interactions with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add extra stress to your current financial predicament. If you need any advice about what debt relief choices you have, reach out to the professionals at Fresh Start Solutions Hobart on 1300 818 575 or visit their website for more details: http://freshstartsolutions.com.au/bankruptcy-hobart.