Lots of individuals deal with financial distress at some time in their lives, and most of these folks are 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 business you owe money to, or they could be a 3rd party servicing a creditor. As you can picture, it’s not a simple task to squeeze money out of people who simply don’t have any. Most people in debt are already stressed about their financial challenges, and other people calling them to remind them of this doesn’t always end smoothly. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of detrimental connotations. There have been many cases of people being harassed by debt collectors so it’s vital that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors are aware of their rights and the best ways to deal with these kinds of communications.
Be aware of Your Legal Rights.
Recognising what debt collectors can and can’t do is very important in having the capacity 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 additionally your partner or spouse, family members, or anyone else related to 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 phone, letters, emails, social media sites or by visiting you face to face. Whenever you have correspondences with debt collectors, it’s integral that you keep a record of such interaction including the time and date of contact, the source of contact (phone, email, person), the debt collector’s name and business name, and what was said during the interaction. 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 permission is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also specifies that:
Debt collectors can only make up to 3 telephone calls or letters per week (or 10 monthly).
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 answered any of their previous 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 communication can not be viewed by anyone but you.
If you do agree to meet a debt collector in person, 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 series 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 understand what your debt relief options are. You can carry out some research on the web to discover what possibilities you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most companies will offer free advice at the beginning). Once you understand what choices 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 easier by having the ability to dictate the conversation and telling you of what choices 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 very 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 creditors. The best way to manage communications with debt collectors is to realise your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, document all interactions, and knowing what debt relief possibilities 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, talk with the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Cassowary Coast on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for additional information: http://www.bankruptcyexpertscassowarycoast.com.au.