Bankruptcy in Australia – What To Understand about Debt Collection
Lots of individuals deal with financial troubles at some time in their lives, and most 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 company. A debt collector can either be an employee of a business you owe money to, or they could be a 3rd party employed by a creditor. As you can imagine, it’s not a straightforward job to squeeze money out of people who don’t have any. Most people in debt are already pressured about their financial situation, and people calling them to remind them of this doesn’t always end smoothly. Consequently, debt collectors have a lot of adverse connotations. There have been countless cases of people being harassed by debt collectors so it’s imperative that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors understand their rights and how to deal with these sorts of interactions.
Be aware of Your Legal Rights.
Being aware of what debt collectors can and can’t do is vital 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 concern 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).
How And When Debt Collectors Can Contact You.
It’s also useful to recognise how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, mail, emails, social media or by seeing you personally. Every time you have interactions with debt collectors, it’s critical that you keep a document of such communication including the time and date of contact, the source of contact (person, email, phone), the debt collector’s name and company name, and what was said during the correspondence. It’s also relevant to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and providing your financial information to another party without your approval is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also stipulates that:
Debt collectors can only make up to three telephone 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 addressed 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 personally, 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 friendly and give you a series 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 have an understanding of what your debt relief options are. You can perform some research on the internet to see what options you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most businesses will offer free advice at the beginning). Once you recognise what choices you have, you’ll be more comfortable in addressing 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 simpler by having the ability to govern the interaction and instructing 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 very difficult, and they’ll use any methods possible for you to repay your debt since the amount of debt you repay and how fast you repay it determines the commissions that debt collectors receive from creditors. The best way to manage interactions with debt collectors is to recognise your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, record all communications, and knowing what debt relief options you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will dramatically improve your correspondences with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add additional stress to your current financial condition. If you need any advice about what debt relief options you have, call the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Tablelands on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for more information: http://www.bankruptcyexpertstablelands.com.au.