|July 25, 2017||0|
A log of folks face financial hardship at some point in their lives, and most of these folks are quite likely to be familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is a person whose job is to collect debts on behalf of a business. A debt collector can either be an employee of a company you owe money to, or they can 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 fair to say that many people in debt are already pressured about their financial condition, and other people phoning them to remind them of this doesn’t always end well. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of adverse connotations. There have been many cases of individuals being harassed by debt collectors so it’s essential that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors have knowledge of their rights and effective ways to handle these types of interactions.
Understand Your Legal Rights.
Being aware of what debt collectors can and can’t do is extremely important in being able 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 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 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 equally crucial to understand how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by phone, letters, emails, social media or by seeing you face to face. Any time you have communications with debt collectors, it’s crucial that you keep a document of such interaction including the time and date of contact, the methods of contact (phone, email, person), the debt collector’s name and business name, and what was said during the interaction. It’s also useful to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and providing your financial information to another party without your permission is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also specifies that:
Debt collectors can only make up to 3 phone 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 replied 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 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 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 task is to persuade 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 conduct some research on the net to see what possibilities you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most firms will offer free advice in the beginning). Once you understand what alternatives you have, you’ll be more self-confident in resolving 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 being able to dictate the interaction and telling you of what choices 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 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 lenders. The best way to handle correspondences with debt collectors is to know your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, record all communications, and understanding what debt relief possibilities 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 situation. If you need any advice about what debt relief opportunities you have, speak to the professionals at Fresh Start Solutions Sydney on 1300 818 575 or visit their website for more details: http://freshstartsolutions.com.au/bankruptcy-sydney.