Many individuals deal with financial problems at some time in their lives, and most 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 business. A debt collector can either be an employee of a business you owe money to, or they could be a 3rd party working for a lender. As you can envision, it’s not an easy job to squeeze money out of people who simply have none. Most people in debt are already pressured about their financial issues, and other people calling them to remind them of this doesn’t always end smoothly. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of negative connotations. There have been many cases of people being harassed by debt collectors so it’s crucial that people who are being contacted by debt collectors understand their rights and effective ways to manage these types of communications.
Learn about Your Legal Rights.
Being aware of what debt collectors can and can’t do is vital in having the capacity to suitably 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 involve a debt collector’s behaviour towards you, but additionally your partner or spouse, family members, or anyone else connected with you. If you end up 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 crucial to recognise how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, mail, emails, social media sites or by visiting you in person. Whenever you have communications with debt collectors, it’s vital that you keep a record of such communication including the date and time of contact, the methods of contact (letter, email, phone), the debt collector’s name and business 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 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 telephone calls or letters each 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 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 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 immediately.
Know What Options You Have.
A debt collector’s job is not to be friendly and give you a range of debt relief alternatives. Their task is to persuade 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 perform some research online to see 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 options you have, you’ll be more comfortable 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 chance to control the interaction and advising you of what options 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 way possible for you to repay your debt since the quantity of debt you repay and how fast you repay it determines the commissions that debt collectors receive from creditors. The best way to deal with communications with debt collectors is to recognise 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 certainly 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 opportunities you have, reach out to the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Dandenong on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for more information: http://www.bankruptcyexpertsdandenong.com.au.