Lots of folks wrestle with financial challenges at some time in their lives, and the majority of these individuals are likely to be familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is an individual whose job is to collect debts on behalf of a business. A debt collector can either be an employee of an enterprise you owe money to, or they can be a third party working with a creditor. As you can imagine, it’s not a straightforward task to squeeze money out of people who simply have none. Most people in debt are already strained about their financial condition, and people phoning them to remind them of this doesn’t always end happily. Consequently, debt collectors have a lot of negative associations. There have been lots of cases of people being harassed by debt collectors so it’s crucial that people who are being contacted by debt collectors have knowledge of their rights and effective ways to deal with these sorts of interactions.
Understand Your Legal Rights.
Understanding what debt collectors can and can’t do is critical in having the ability 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 involve a debt collector’s behaviour towards you, but also 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 additionally useful to recognise how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by phone, letters, emails, social networks or by seeing you face to face. Every time you have correspondences with debt collectors, it’s pivotal that you keep a record of such interaction including the date and time of contact, the means 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 providing your financial details to another party without your authorisation is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also states that:
Debt collectors can only make up to 3 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 addressed 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 messages can not be seen 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 hospitable and give you a series of debt relief alternatives. Their task 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 options are. You can perform some research online to discover what possibilities you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most companies will offer free advice in the beginning). Once you recognise what options you have, you’ll be more confident in resolving 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 opportunity to control the discussion and telling you of what alternatives 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 difficult, and they’ll use any means possible for you to repay your debt since the amount 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 communications with debt collectors is to know your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, document all interactions, and understanding what debt relief choices you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will certainly improve your interactions with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add more stress to your current financial situation. If you need any advice about what debt relief options you have, reach out to the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Hervey Bay on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for more details: http://www.bankruptcyexpertsherveybay.com.au.