Your rights when dealing with debt collectors.
You probably never expect to be in the situation of having to deal with debt collectors, and if you should find yourself in that position, then it can be a very stressful and distressing time.
Not only will there be the background reasons for why you are struggling with debt, there are some debt recovery agents who do not always follow the guidelines on debt collection. If you are not familiar with your rights, you could find yourself receiving undue harassment or unprofessional conduct.
To help, we have reproduced the ACCC’s information below;
Legal rights when dealing with debt collectors
Under the Australian Consumer Law, a debt collector must not:
- use physical force
- harass or hassle you to an unreasonable extent
- mislead or deceive you (or try to do so)
- take unfair advantage of any vulnerability, disability or other similar circumstances affecting you (reference unconscionable conduct).
These laws also apply to a debt collector’s conduct towards your spouse, partner, family member or someone else connected with you.
Make a formal complaint if a creditor or debt collector misleads you, threatens you or is abusive.
Being contacted about a debt
A debt collector should only contact you when it is necessary to do so and for a reasonable purpose.
A reasonable purpose includes:
- making a demand for payment
- making arrangements for repayment
- finding out why an agreed repayment plan has not been met
- reviewing a repayment plan after an agreed period of time
- inspecting or recovering mortgaged goods (if they have a right to do so).
If contact is necessary, it should be limited (unless you request or agree otherwise) to:
- a maximum of three phone calls or letters per week (or 10 per month)
- phone contact only between the hours of 7:30am–9:00pm on weekdays and 9:00am–9:00pm on weekends
- face-to-face contact only between the hours of 9:00am–9:00pm on weekdays and weekends
- no contact on national public holidays.
Generally, visits to your home (or another agreed location) should only take place if there is no other way the debt collector can make effective contact with you, or if you ask for (or agree to) a visit.
If repayment arrangements can be worked out over the phone or by letter, then face-to-face contact should not be necessary.
Conduct involving assault or threats of violence should always be reported to the police.
Protecting your privacy
Debt collectors must protect your personal information and the personal information of third parties. Contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner(link is external) if you believe that a debt collector or creditor has breached privacy laws.
At Life After Debt ® we want to help you and take the stress of unmanageable debt away. We will contact your creditors ~ and the debt collection agents ~ to correspond on your behalf (with your permission and authority). We will assess your circumstances to see which debt solution is best for you and work to put that solution in place.
Fed up with dealing with debt collectors?
If we are considering a Part IX Debt Agreement as the potential debt solution, then once it is accepted you never have to deal with those debt collectors again! That’s our job. Contact us today for your free debt analysis.