Many individuals wrestle with financial challenges at some time in their lives, and most of these individuals are very 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 firm you owe money to, or they can be a 3rd party employed by a lender. As you can imagine, it’s not a simple task to squeeze money out of people who simply have none. It would be safe to say that most people in debt are already burdened by their financial issues, and other people contacting them to remind them of this doesn’t always end happily. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of adverse associations. There have been numerous 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 manage these types of communications.
Learn about Your Legal Rights.
Understanding what debt collectors can and can’t do is crucial in being able to appropriately 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 also 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 understand how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, mail, emails, social networking sites or by visiting you personally. Any time you have correspondences 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 (letter, phone, person), the debt collector’s name and business name, and what was said during the interaction. It’s also critical 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 specifies that:
Debt collectors can only make up to 3 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 responded to 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 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 courteous and give you a variety of debt relief solutions. Their task is to coax 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 internet to see what options you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most companies will offer free advice at the beginning). Once you are aware of 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 understand what your options are, it makes the job of the debt collector much simpler by having the chance to govern the discussion and informing you of what alternatives you have, whether they’re true or not.
It’s always a complicated situation when you come into contact with debt collectors. Their job is difficult, and they’ll use any means 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 creditors. The best way to handle correspondences with debt collectors is to understand your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, record all interactions, and knowing what debt relief possibilities you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will substantially improve your correspondences with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add additional stress to your current financial situation. If you need any advice about what debt relief possibilities you have, talk to the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Hobart on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for more information: http://www.bankruptcyexpertshobart.com.au.