Bankruptcy in Australia – What To Understand about Debt Collection
A lot of people face financial problems at some point in their lives, and the majority of these folks are very likely to be familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is a person whose job is to collect debts on behalf of a company. A debt collector can either be an employee of an enterprise you owe money to, or they can be a 3rd party employed by a lender. As you can envision, it’s not an easy job to squeeze money out of people who have none. Most people in debt are already burdened by their financial challenges, and other people calling them to remind them of this doesn’t always end smoothly. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of detrimental associations. There have been plenty of cases of individuals being harassed by debt collectors so it’s crucial that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors are aware of their rights and effective ways to handle these kinds of interactions.
Be aware of Your Legal Rights.
Being aware of what debt collectors can and can’t do is essential in having the capacity to properly 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 relate to a debt collector’s behaviour towards you, but also your partner or spouse, family members, or anyone else related to you. If you find yourself 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 also important to recognise how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by phone, mail, emails, social networks or by visiting you personally. Each time you have interactions with debt collectors, it’s crucial that you keep a record of such correspondence including the time and date of contact, the methods of contact (letter, email, phone), the debt collector’s name and business name, and what was said during the interaction. It’s also vital to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and providing your financial details 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 telephone 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 addressed any of their prior 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 messages can not be viewed 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 friendly and give you a series of debt relief options. 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 be aware of what your debt relief alternatives are. You can undertake some research online to see what alternatives you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most businesses will offer free advice in the beginning). Once you are aware of 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 understand what your options are, it makes the job of the debt collector much easier by having the chance to dictate the discussion and informing you of what choices you have, whether they’re true or not.
It’s always a tough 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 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 know your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, record all interactions, and understanding what debt relief alternatives you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will notably improve your communications with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add even more stress to your current financial predicament. If you need any advice about what debt relief possibilities you have, reach out to the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Ipswich on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for more information: http://www.bankruptcyexpertsipswich.com.au.