What To Know About Debt Collection
Lots of individuals struggle with financial problems at some point in their lives, and most of these people are quite likely to be familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is a person whose job is to collect debts on behalf of an organisation. A debt collector can either be an employee of a company you owe money to, or they can be a third party working for a lender. As you can envision, it’s not an easy task to squeeze money out of people who don’t have any. It would be safe to say that most people in debt are already strained about their financial problems, and other people calling them to remind them of this doesn’t always end smoothly. Consequently, debt collectors have a lot of detrimental connotations. There have been a lot of cases of individuals being harassed by debt collectors so it’s important that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors understand their rights and how to handle these kinds of communications.
Learn about Your Legal Rights.
Understanding what debt collectors can and can’t do is vital in having the ability to suitably 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 additionally 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 also important to understand how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, letters, emails, social networking sites or by seeing you face to face. Any time you have interactions with debt collectors, it’s vital that you maintain a document of such correspondence including the date and time of contact, the means of contact (letter, email, phone), the debt collector’s name and company name, and what was said during the correspondence. It’s also essential to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and supplying your financial details 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 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 former 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 viewed 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 warm and give you a variety of debt relief options. Their task is to persuade you to repay as much of your debt as possible, as fast as possible. So, the best thing to do is to recognise what your debt relief alternatives are. You can carry out some research online to search for what options you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most companies will offer free advice in the beginning). Once you understand what options you have, you’ll be more confident in handling 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 conversation and instructing 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 means 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 communications with debt collectors is to have an understanding of your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, record all interactions, and knowing what debt relief choices you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will considerably improve your communications with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add more stress to your current financial predicament. If you need any advice about what debt relief choices you have, talk with the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Melbourne on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for more information: http://www.bankruptcyexpertsmelbourne.com.au.