A log of folks face financial troubles at some time in their lives, and most of these people 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 a business you owe money to, or they can be a 3rd party working for a creditor. As you can picture, it’s not an easy task to squeeze money out of people who simply have none. It would be fair to say that many people in debt are already stressed about their financial issues, and other people phoning them to remind them of this doesn’t always end smoothly. Consequently, debt collectors have a lot of unfavourable connotations. There have been numerous cases of individuals being harassed by debt collectors so it’s vital that people who are being contacted by debt collectors have knowledge of their rights and effective ways to handle these types of communications.
Be aware of Your Legal Rights.
Recognising what debt collectors can and can’t do is crucial in having the ability to effectively 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 relate to a debt collector’s behaviour towards you, but similarly 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 likewise essential to recognise how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by phone, mail, emails, social media sites or by seeing you in person. Any time you have correspondences with debt collectors, it’s essential that you maintain a document of such communication including the date and time of contact, the methods of contact (phone, email, person), the debt collector’s name and company name, and what was said during the correspondence. It’s also crucial to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and providing your financial info to another party without your authorisation is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also stipulates that:
Debt collectors can only make up to three phone 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 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 communication 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 polite and give you a variety of debt relief alternatives. Their task is to encourage you to repay as much of your debt as possible, as fast as possible. So, the best thing to do is to recognise what your debt relief options are. You can conduct some research on the web to find what possibilities you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most companies will offer free advice at first). Once you recognise what options 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 understand what your options are, it makes the job of the debt collector much easier by being able to control the discussion and informing you of what options 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 quantity 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 understand your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, record all communications, and understanding what debt relief choices you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will dramatically improve your interactions with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add further stress to your current financial condition. If you need any advice about what debt relief choices you have, call the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Alice Springs on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for additional information: http://www.bankruptcyexpertsalicesprings.com.au.