Bankruptcy in Australia – What To Know About Debt Collection
Many individuals wrestle with financial problems at some time in their lives, and the majority of these folks are quite likely to be familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is a person whose job is to collect debts on behalf of a firm. A debt collector can either be an employee of a business you owe money to, or they could be a 3rd party working for a creditor. As you can imagine, it’s not an easy 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 difficulties, 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 large number of cases of individuals being harassed by debt collectors so it’s critical that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors have knowledge of their rights and effective ways to handle these kinds of interactions.
Understand Your Legal Rights.
Understanding what debt collectors can and can’t do is vital in being able to suitably 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 involve a debt collector’s behaviour towards you, but additionally your partner or spouse, family members, or anyone else associated with you. If you find yourself 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 equally critical to understand how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, mail, emails, social networking sites or by seeing you in person. Each time you have interactions with debt collectors, it’s vital that you maintain a record of such communication including the time and date of contact, the means of contact (phone, email, person), the debt collector’s name and company name, and what was said during the correspondence. It’s also useful to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and providing your financial details 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 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 correspondence 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 hospitable and give you a series of debt relief alternatives. Their task 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 understand what your debt relief options are. You can perform some research on the net to search for what options you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most firms will offer free advice in the beginning). Once you understand what choices you have, you’ll be more confident in dealing with 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 chance to govern the conversation 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 amount 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 correspondences with debt collectors is to have an understanding of your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, document all interactions, and understanding what debt relief possibilities 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 condition. If you need any advice about what debt relief alternatives you have, contact the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Sydney on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for additional information: http://www.bankruptcyexpertssydney.com.au.