A lot of individuals deal with financial challenges at some point in their lives, and the majority of these folks are quite likely to be 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 a firm you owe money to, or they can be a third party working for a creditor. As you can picture, it’s not a straightforward job to squeeze money out of people who simply don’t have any. It would be safe to say that most people in debt are already stressed about their financial problems, and other people phoning them to remind them of this doesn’t always end happily. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of detrimental connotations. There have been plenty 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 how to deal with these sorts of communications.
Learn about Your Legal Rights.
Being aware of what debt collectors can and can’t do is very important in being able 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 concern 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 additionally critical to understand how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, letters, emails, social media or by visiting you face to face. Each time you have interactions with debt collectors, it’s crucial that you keep a record of such interaction including the date and time of contact, the source of contact (letter, email, phone), the debt collector’s name and business name, and what was said during the correspondence. It’s also important to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and providing your financial info to another party without your permission 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 past 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 courteous and give you a range of debt relief solutions. 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 understand what your debt relief alternatives are. You can perform some research on the web to find what options you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most companies will offer free advice at the beginning). Once you understand what choices you have, you’ll be more self-confident in handling 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 easier by having the ability to govern the conversation and advising you of what alternatives 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 handle correspondences with debt collectors is to understand 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 greatly improve your correspondences with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add additional stress to your current financial predicament. If you need any advice about what debt relief options you have, speak to the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Perth on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for additional information: http://www.bankruptcyexpertsperth.com.au.