A log of folks struggle with financial problems at some time in their lives, and the majority of these folks are probably familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is a person whose job is to collect debts on behalf of a company. A debt collector can either be an employee of an organisation you owe money to, or they can be a 3rd party working with a lender. As you can imagine, it’s not an easy job to squeeze money out of people who don’t have any. It would be safe to say that most people in debt are already pressured about their financial complications, and other people calling them to remind them of this doesn’t always end well. Consequently, debt collectors have a lot of unfavourable associations. There have been numerous cases of people being harassed by debt collectors so it’s crucial that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors understand their rights and the best ways to handle these types of communications.
Be aware of Your Legal Rights.
Understanding what debt collectors can and can’t do is very important in having the capacity to effectively 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 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 additionally vital to recognise how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, mail, emails, social networking sites or by visiting you in person. Each time you have correspondences with debt collectors, it’s critical that you maintain a record of such correspondence including the date and time of contact, the means of contact (phone, email, person), the debt collector’s name and company name, and what was said during the interaction. It’s also critical to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and providing your financial info to another party without your approval is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also stipulates that:
Debt collectors can only make up to three 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 replied 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 helpful and give you a series of debt relief alternatives. Their job is to coax you to repay as much of your debt as possible, as fast as possible. So, the best thing to do is to have an understanding of what your debt relief alternatives are. You can undertake some research on the web to see what alternatives you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most businesses will offer free advice at the beginning). Once you are aware of what choices 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 having the chance to dictate the interaction and instructing 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 way possible for you to repay your debt since the amount of debt you repay and how quickly you repay it determines the commissions that debt collectors receive from lenders. The best way to handle communications with debt collectors is to understand your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, document all communications, and knowing what debt relief alternatives you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will significantly improve your interactions with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add additional stress to your current financial predicament. If you need any advice about what debt relief opportunities you have, contact the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Kalgoorlie on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for additional information: https://www.bankruptcyexpertskalgoorlie.com.au.