Bankruptcy in Australia – What To Understand about Debt Collection
A lot of individuals struggle with financial troubles at some point in their lives, and most of these individuals are likely to be familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is a person whose job is to collect debts on behalf of an enterprise. A debt collector can either be an employee of an organisation you owe money to, or they could be a third party employed by a creditor. As you can picture, it’s not a simple task to squeeze money out of people who simply don’t have any. It would be safe to say that most people in debt are already stressed about their financial condition, and other people calling them to remind them of this doesn’t always end well. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of detrimental associations. There have been lots of cases of individuals being harassed by debt collectors so it’s crucial that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors have knowledge of their rights and the best ways 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 essential in being able to adequately manage any interactions 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 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).
How And When Debt Collectors Can Contact You.
It’s equally critical to recognise how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, mail, emails, social media or by visiting you face to face. Any time you have correspondences with debt collectors, it’s essential that you maintain a document of such interaction including the time and date of contact, the means of contact (letter, email, phone), the debt collector’s name and company name, and what was said during the interaction. It’s also significant 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 stipulates 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 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 personally, 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 friendly and give you a range of debt relief alternatives. Their job 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 have an understanding of what your debt relief alternatives are. You can perform some research on the web to search for what alternatives you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most firms will offer free advice at the beginning). Once you understand what options 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 easier by having the chance to control the conversation and instructing you of what options 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 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 deal with 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 possibilities you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will dramatically improve your interactions 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 opportunities you have, get in touch with the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Geelong on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for additional information: http://www.bankruptcyexpertsgeelong.com.au.