Dealing with Debt Collectors
Dealing with debt collectors can be very stressful. Most people don’t know what they can and can’t do and what they can and can’t say. Debt collectors use this to get away with activities that are often illegal or questionable.
However, you’re fully within your right to contest actions that your creditors make.
With the bigger companies, fears of litigation often force them to abide by the rules, when trying to collect from Australian debtors. However, among the myriad smaller companies, trickery and chicanery is a lot more likely.
To help you deal with this nefarious landscape (powerful debt collectors who play by strong legal rules, and swarms of smaller collection companies using possibly shady tactics) here is a regularly updated checklist to help you deal with debt collectors, and also all the stress that comes with the constant harassment.
As Sun Tzu said in the Art of War, “Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.” If debt collectors are hassling you, read through this checklist with a cup of tea, find your zen and then make moves to put an end to the harassment, once and for all.
What debt collectors can do
Contact by creditors needs to be for a reasonable purpose only (not simply to harass you). These reasons can include:
|asking for a payment or explaining the consequences of not paying;|
|finding out why you haven’t responded to their attempts to contact you; or|
|finding out why a payment arrangement didn’t work.|
What debt collectors can’t do
It goes without saying that there is a certain criterion to adhere to between you and the debt collector, which debt collectors should follow at all times.
From contacting you at unsolicited times to using offensive language, these are triggers that you should flag up in the first instance.
If you see or notice any of these happening between you and your creditor, it’s important to know that you can take action, or speak to a consultant about your troubles.
Important things to do when dealing with debt collectors
Records are vital when making a complaint. Keep copies of every letter or email that you receive, never handover original copies of any documents, and ask for everything to be confirmed in writing.
|If you are being contacted by debt collectors, use a small notebook to keep a record of the following information:|
|the time and date of every call;|
|the name of the person calling;|
|the company they are calling from;|
|reference numbers relating to your case;|
|the number they called you on (e.g. work phone); and|
|a summary of what they said, including any unacceptable behaviour.|
Debt mediators and debt collectors
The debt collection industry in Australia is extremely competitive. According to the ACCC, as of 2015, there are over 500 businesses offering various debt collection services in the country.
As with most industries, there are a few big players like ARC and Slater Byrne. However, in Australia, 3% of debt collection companies generate less than AUD $200,000 in revenue. In addition, 95% percent of debt collection companies in Australia employ less than 20 people.
In Australia, debt collection is regulated at the federal level, and also at state levels. In both cases, regulators oversee consumer protection policies and also the licensing of debt collectors.
In particular, ACCC notes that poorly educated consumers from lower socio-economic backgrounds are the most vulnerable to financial harm. One of the most common scams is with shady credit repair agencies, where ignorant consumers can be duped into paying for services that are usually free of charge.
When Debt Mediators is engaged to act as your “Authorised Representative”, call us on 1300 171 351 and we will send written notification of this to your creditors.
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