A lot of individuals struggle with financial troubles at some time in their lives, and the majority of these folks are very likely to be familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is an individual whose job is to collect debts on behalf of a company. 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 creditor. As you can envision, it’s not an easy job to squeeze money out of people who have none. It would be safe to say that most people in debt are already strained about their financial hardship, and people phoning them to remind them of this doesn’t always end happily. Consequently, debt collectors have a lot of adverse connotations. There have been a large number of cases of individuals being harassed by debt collectors so it’s essential that people who are being contacted by debt collectors are aware of their rights and effective ways to handle these types of communications.
Be aware of Your Legal Rights.
Understanding what debt collectors can and can’t do is essential in having the ability to properly 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 apply to a debt collector’s behaviour towards you, but also your partner or spouse, family members, or anyone else associated with you. If you end up in a situation 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 important to recognise how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by phone, mail, emails, social networking sites or by visiting you face to face. Each time you have interactions with debt collectors, it’s integral that you keep a document of such communication including the date and time of contact, the means of contact (phone, email, person), the debt collector’s name and business name, and what was said during the correspondence. It’s also significant to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and supplying 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 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 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 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 friendly and give you a series of debt relief options. 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 understand what your debt relief options are. You can perform some research on the net to discover what options you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most companies will offer free advice in the beginning). Once you understand what choices you have, you’ll be more confident in addressing 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 interaction and instructing you of what choices 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 amount of debt you repay and how fast you repay it determines the commissions that debt collectors receive from creditors. The best way to manage correspondences with debt collectors is to recognise your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, record all correspondences, and knowing what debt relief alternatives you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will considerably improve your correspondences with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add even more stress to your current financial condition. If you need any advice about what debt relief possibilities you have, reach out to the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Parramatta on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for additional information: www.bankruptcyexpertsparramatta.com.au.