Do you have debt collectors hassling you?
Just because you owe money, it does not give an individual or company the right to harass or intimidate you about payment of the debt. There are consumer laws that prohibit these behaviours.
If you are contacted by a creditor or debt collector, be courteous and co-operative, you are entitled to expect that same behaviour in return.
When can a debt collector contact you?
Excessive or unreasonable contact by a debt collector is unlawful. Unless you have agreed otherwise, the amount of contact should be limited to:
- 3 phone calls or letters per week (or 10 a month);
- Calling no earlier than 7.30am weekdays or 9.00am on weekends and no later than 9.00pm.
What is unacceptable behaviour?
Debt collectors and creditors must only contact you when it's necessary and for a reasonable purpose. Creditors and debt collectors can't:
- Harass, intimidate or use force against you or through others;
- Take advantage due to illness, disability or ignorance of the law;
- Make false statements (such as threatening legal action) about the debt or tell other people about the debt (under privacy laws); or
- Verbally abuse or overbear.
What can I do if a debt collector engages in this behaviour?
You can complain in writing to the creditors' or debt collectors' Complaints Department. If no response or action is taken by the company, you can formally complain to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
This article contains information of a general nature only and is not specific to your circumstances. This is not legal advice and should not be relied upon without independent legal or financial advice, specific to your circumstances.