Owing money is stressful enough without receiving threatening calls and letters from debt collectors. If you find yourself in financial difficulty, it is critical to know your rights and responsibilities.
Dealing with debt collectors: Your rights and responsibilities, is a free guide produced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Its aim is to assist consumers to fully understand their options for dealing with debt, which, in turn, will help when dealing with creditors and debt collectors.
The guide covers:
- legal rights and responsibilities if a debt is incurred
- where to get help, how to set a budget, apply for financial hardship, negotiate a payment plan and better understand legal rights and responsibilities
- what to do if contacted by a debt collector
- what behaviour from a debt collector is not acceptable
- how to dispute any aspect of an alleged debt
- what to do in the event of court action.
The most useful aspect is the summary of how and when debt collectors can contact people and the examples provided of inappropriate behaviour by collectors.
To download your copy of Dealing with debt collectors: Your rights and responsibilities, visit MoneySmart.gov.au.