Many individuals deal with financial challenges at some point 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 company you owe money to, or they can be a 3rd party servicing a creditor. As you can picture, it’s not a straightforward task to squeeze money out of people who simply have none. It would be safe to say that most people in debt are already pressured about their financial problems, and people contacting them to remind them of this doesn’t always end well. Consequently, debt collectors have a lot of negative connotations. There have been plenty of cases of individuals being harassed by debt collectors so it’s crucial that individuals who are being contacted by debt collectors have knowledge of their rights and effective ways to deal with these kinds of communications.
Learn about Your Legal Rights.
Being aware of what debt collectors can and can’t do is extremely important in having the capacity 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 involve a debt collector’s behaviour towards you, but additionally your partner or spouse, family members, or anyone else associated 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 also vital to recognise how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, mail, emails, social networking sites or by seeing you in person. Each time you have correspondences with debt collectors, it’s crucial that you maintain a record of such correspondence including the time and date of contact, the means of contact (letter, phone, person), the debt collector’s name and company 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 information to another party without your consent is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also states that:
Debt collectors can only make up to 3 phone calls or letters per 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 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 messages can not be seen 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 courteous and give you a series of debt relief options. Their task is to encourage 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 alternatives are. You can conduct some research on the net to discover what alternatives you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most firms will offer free advice in the beginning). Once you understand what options you have, you’ll be more confident in handling debt collector’s threats or demands, or any other collection tactics. If you don’t know what your options are, it makes the job of the debt collector much easier by having the chance to dictate the discussion 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 very 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 manage correspondences with debt collectors is to know your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, document all communications, and knowing what debt relief options you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will significantly improve your communications with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add further stress to your current financial condition. If you need any advice about what debt relief alternatives you have, speak with the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Adelaide on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for additional information: http://www.bankruptcyexpertsadelaide.com.au.