|July 25, 2017||659|
A lot of individuals face financial problems at some point in their lives, and the majority of these individuals are very likely to be familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is an individual whose job is to collect debts on behalf of a firm. A debt collector can either be an employee of a business you owe money to, or they can be a third party employed by a creditor. As you can envision, it’s not a simple job to squeeze money out of people who have none. It would be fair to say that many people in debt are already burdened by their financial challenges, and people contacting them to remind them of this doesn’t always end happily. Consequently, debt collectors have a lot of unfavourable connotations. There have been a lot of cases of individuals being harassed by debt collectors so it’s critical that people who are being contacted by debt collectors have knowledge of their rights and how to deal with these sorts of interactions.
Be aware of Your Legal Rights.
Recognising what debt collectors can and can’t do is extremely important in having the ability to adequately 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 involve a debt collector’s behaviour towards you, but similarly your partner or spouse, family members, or anyone else connected with you. If you end up in a situation 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 additionally valuable to understand how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, letters, emails, social media or by visiting you personally. Whenever you have communications with debt collectors, it’s essential that you maintain a record of such interaction including the date and time of contact, the source of contact (letter, email, phone), the debt collector’s name and business name, and what was said during the correspondence. It’s also valuable to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and providing your financial info to another party without your authorisation is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also specifies that:
Debt collectors can only make up to three phone 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 replied to 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 seen by anyone but you.
If you do agree to meet a debt collector in person, any threats of assault or violence should be reported to the police immediately.
Know What Options You Have.
A debt collector’s job is not to be courteous and give you a series of debt relief alternatives. 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 have an understanding of what your debt relief options are. You can conduct some research on the internet to search for what options you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most firms will offer free advice in the beginning). Once you recognise what choices you have, you’ll be more confident in addressing 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 simpler by having the chance to govern the conversation and advising you of what choices you have, whether they’re true or not.
It’s always a complicated situation when you come into contact with debt collectors. Their job is difficult, and they’ll use any methods possible for you to repay your debt since the amount of debt you repay and how quickly you repay it determines the commissions that debt collectors receive from lenders. The best way to handle correspondences with debt collectors is to realise your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, record all correspondences, and understanding what debt relief choices you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will considerably improve your correspondences 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 options you have, call the professionals at Fresh Start Solutions on 1300 818 575 or visit their website for more information: http://freshstartsolutions.com.au.