|July 25, 2017||Comments Closed|
Lots of folks wrestle with financial challenges at some time in their lives, and most of these individuals are 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 company you owe money to, or they could be a third party working for a creditor. As you can envision, it’s not a straightforward job 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 burdened by their financial problems, and other people contacting them to remind them of this doesn’t always end smoothly. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of unfavourable connotations. There have been countless cases of individuals being harassed by debt collectors so it’s critical that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors understand their rights and effective ways to manage these sorts of interactions.
Learn about Your Legal Rights.
Being aware of what debt collectors can and can’t do is extremely important in having the capacity to effectively 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 similarly 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 likewise crucial to be aware of how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by phone, mail, emails, social networks or by visiting you in person. Every time you have correspondences with debt collectors, it’s crucial that you keep a record of such communication 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 correspondence. It’s also important to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and providing your financial details to another party without your consent is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also specifies that:
Debt collectors can only make up to 3 phone calls or letters each 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 responded 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 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 courteous and give you a series of debt relief alternatives. Their task is to coax you to repay as much of your debt as possible, as quickly as possible. So, the best thing to do is to be aware of what your debt relief alternatives are. You can undertake some research online to find what options you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most businesses will offer free advice at the beginning). Once you understand what options you have, you’ll be more comfortable 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 chance to dictate the interaction and advising 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 quickly you repay it determines the commissions that debt collectors receive from lenders. The best way to manage interactions with debt collectors is to understand your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, record all communications, and knowing what debt relief alternatives you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will significantly improve your interactions with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add extra stress to your current financial situation. If you need any advice about what debt relief possibilities you have, talk with the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Bendigo on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for more information: www.bankruptcyexpertsbendigo.com.au.