Lots of individuals wrestle with financial difficulties at some point in their lives, and most of these individuals are probably familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is an individual whose job is to collect debts on behalf of an organisation. A debt collector can either be an employee of an organisation you owe money to, or they can be a third party working with a lender. As you can envision, it’s not a simple task 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 people phoning them to remind them of this doesn’t always end happily. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of detrimental associations. There have been many cases of individuals being harassed by debt collectors so it’s vital that people who are being contacted by debt collectors are aware of their rights and the best ways to handle these sorts of interactions.
Understand Your Legal Rights.
Recognising what debt collectors can and can’t do is very important in having the ability to properly manage any correspondences 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 similarly 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 likewise essential 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 personally. Whenever you have interactions with debt collectors, it’s critical that you keep a document of such interaction including the date and time of contact, the source of contact (phone, email, person), the debt collector’s name and company name, and what was said during the correspondence. It’s also useful to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and supplying your financial info to another party without your authorisation is breaking the Law.
The Australian Consumer Law also stipulates that:
Debt collectors can only make up to 3 telephone 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 responded to 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 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 warm and friendly and give you a range of debt relief options. Their job 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 undertake some research on the web to discover what options you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most businesses will offer free advice at first). Once you understand what choices you have, you’ll be more self-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 being able to control the conversation and instructing you of what choices you have, whether they’re true or not.
It’s always a complicated situation when you come into contact with debt collectors. Their job is very difficult, and they’ll use any methods 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 deal with interactions with debt collectors is to recognise your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, document all correspondences, and understanding what debt relief choices you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will dramatically improve your communications with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add further stress to your current financial predicament. If you need any advice about what debt relief alternatives you have, get in contact with the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Gold Coast on 1300 879 867 or visit their website for more information: http://www.bankruptcyexpertsgoldcoast.com.au.