You may be a month or two behind on your loan payments, but that is not enough reason to hide or run from debt collectors. They can contact you through letters or phone calls, but they are not allowed to harass or threaten you in any way. They may visit you either at home or in your place of work, but only when you requested it. Most of all, they are explicitly prohibited to talk about your financial situation with other people. These are just a few of the legal provisions concerning debt collection. Knowing more about these laws helps, especially when you take any legal action against a very aggressive debt collector.
The following list enumerates the rest of the rules about credit collection in Australia:
- Debt collectors may contact you through snail mail, fax, emails, phone calls, and SMS. However, they’re only allowed to call you or to meet with you in person between 7:30 A.M. and 9:00 P.M. from Mondays to Fridays or from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. during Saturdays and Sundays.
- Any contact during public holidays is absolutely prohibited. That means no phone calls, emails, SMS, or faxes on New Year’s Day (January 1), Australia Day (January 26), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day (April 25), Christmas Day (December 25), and Boxing Day (December 26). The list also includes regional holidays depending on your location.
- Collectors shouldn’t call you or send letters to you by post more than three times in a week or ten times in each month.
- Visits to your home or workplace won’t be necessary when arrangements for repayment can be done through phone calls, emails, letters, or text messaging.
- Personal visits by debt collectors should be done once every 14 days and only when you agreed to the visit. You may ask for a different time before nine in the morning or after nine in the evening.
These explicit rules are a protective measure against a breach of privacy laws. Credit collectors aren’t supposed to reveal anything related to your financial situation. They are not even allowed to introduce themselves to other people and inform them of their purpose. These collectors are also prohibited to contact family members and friends close to you. Most of all, they can be jailed when they start harassing you or someone you know and sending you threatening messages.
Debt collectors do not have authority to confiscate your property, even when you have included yours as collateral for a loan. Usually, debt collectors come to you when you are just a bit behind on payments, but not yet in consideration for a legal action. A creditor through the collection agency may only sue you when you failed to meet your repayments, which you agreed to during discussions with a credit consultant. Even then, your personal property will only be subject to confiscation when the court decided in the creditor’s favor and only the property you indicated as collateral may be taken.