A log of folks face financial troubles at some point in their lives, and most of these people are probably familiar with debt collectors. A debt collector is a person whose job is to collect debts on behalf of a firm. A debt collector can either be an employee of a company you owe money to, or they could be a third party working for a creditor. As you can envision, it’s not an easy job to squeeze money out of people who have none. It would be safe to say that most people in debt are already burdened by their financial problems, and other people contacting them to remind them of this doesn’t always end happily. As a result, debt collectors have a lot of adverse associations. There have been numerous cases of individuals being harassed by debt collectors so it’s crucial that people who are being contacted by debt collectors have knowledge of their rights and effective ways to handle these types of communications.
Be aware of Your Legal Rights.
Understanding what debt collectors can and can’t do is critical in having the ability to suitably 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 concern a debt collector’s behaviour towards you, but similarly your partner or spouse, family members, or anyone else related to 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 necessary to understand how and when debt collectors can contact you. They can do this by telephone, letters, emails, social networking sites or by visiting you face to face. Whenever you have correspondences with debt collectors, it’s important that you keep a document of such communication including the time and date of contact, the methods of contact (phone, email, person), the debt collector’s name and business name, and what was said during the correspondence. It’s also crucial to note that debt collectors must respect your right to privacy and supplying your financial details to another party without your permission 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 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 messages 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 variety of debt relief solutions. Their task 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 recognise what your debt relief alternatives are. You can perform some research on the internet to search for what options you have or you could seek professional debt management advice (most companies will offer free advice at the beginning). Once you are aware of what options you have, you’ll be more comfortable in addressing 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 easier by having the opportunity to govern the interaction and informing 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 very difficult, and they’ll use any methods 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 lenders. The best way to handle interactions with debt collectors is to realise your legal rights, when and how they can contact you, document all interactions, and knowing what debt relief alternatives you have. If you’re aware of these points, then it will substantially improve your communications with debt collectors and hopefully won’t add extra stress to your current financial predicament. If you need any advice about what debt relief choices you have, get in contact with the professionals at Bankruptcy Experts Coffs Harbour on 1300 795 575 or visit their website for additional information: www.bankruptcyexpertscoffsharbour.com.au.