Bankruptcy in Australia – What To Know About Debt Collection
Lots of individuals wrestle with financial troubles at some time in their lives, and the majority of these people are probably 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 business you owe money to, or they could be a third party employed by a lender. As you can picture, it’s not an easy task to squeeze money out of people who simply have none. Most people in debt are already strained about their financial situation, and other people phoning them to remind them of this doesn’t always end well. Consequently, debt collectors have a lot of adverse connotations. There have been many cases of people being harassed by debt collectors so it’s essential that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors have knowledge of their rights and how to deal with these kinds of interactions.
Understand Your Legal Rights.
Being aware of what debt collectors can and can’t do is essential in having the ability to effectively 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 involve a debt collector’s behaviour towards you, but additionally your partner or spouse, family members, or anyone else connected 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 essential to recognise how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by phone, letters, emails, social networking sites or by seeing you personally. Each time you have communications with debt collectors, it’s pivotal that you maintain a document of such communication including the time and date of contact, the methods of contact (email, phone, person), 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 supplying your financial info to another party without your consent is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also states that:.
Debt collectors can only make up to three phone calls or letters per 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 responded to 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 seen 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 warm and friendly and give you a variety of debt relief solutions. Their job is to encourage 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 discover what options you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most firms will offer free advice to begin with). Once you understand what options you have, you’ll be more comfortable 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 easier by having the chance to dictate the conversation and advising 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 deal with interactions with debt collectors is to have an understanding of your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, record all correspondences, and understanding what debt relief options you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will drastically 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 options you have, contact the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Newcastle on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for more details: http://www.bankruptcyexpertsnewcastle.com.au.