There are any number of reasons why a debt collector would need to get involved in a financial matter, but if you find yourself needing to liaise with one, below are five tips that could make the process much easier.
1. You have the right to ask a debt collector not to contact you at a particular place.
While you may need to liaise with a debt collector, it's within your rights to decide not to let the conversation extend into your work life. If you ask that a debt collector not correspond with you at a particular place, they must accept this as long as you provide an alternative means of contacting you.
2. You can apply to have the terms of your repayment changed because of personal hardship.
This can't be done in certain circumstances and applies only in certain types of debts, but according section 72 of the National Consumer Credit Code (which you may need to cite in your correspondence with your debt collector), you can request to change the repayments you are obliged to make for reasons of hardship. To make this happen, you will need to call the company with whom you have been liaising, ask for a hardship officer or customer service officer, and explaining that you are experiencing hardship. You should be able to reach a compromise with them, but if not, do the following.
3. You can contact an ombudsman if you feel you have not been fairly treated.
While most debt collectors are going to be fair and follow the law, in some circumstances, a higher authority is needed to intervene to settle the matter, particularly before you are taken to court. Under these circumstances, an ombudsman may be able to provide advisement or settle the situation for you, as is also the case with customer disputes of other kinds.
4. A debt collector can only contact you so many times and within certain hours.
If your debt collector has contacted you by phone more than three times a week or ten times per month, if they have made a face-to-face visit more than once a month, or if they contacted you at all on a public holiday, they have violated the law. Similarly, they can only legally contact you between 7:30 am and 9 pm on weekdays, and between 9 am and 9 pm on any other day.
5. You may be the victim of a scam.
Some criminal businesses pose as legitimate debt collection agencies and try to claim you have a debt which you really don't, or they use illegal, thug-like methods to pursue old debts which they have purchased cheaply. In circumstances like these, a complaint should be lodged against the offending company, or legal action can be taken.
My name is Jamieson and my family refers to me as a self-made millionaire. That isn't exactly true. I am very successful financially, but I didn't do it on my own. With parents who showed me the value of money, an exceptional economics teacher who taught me how to grow an investment from just twenty dollars and sound financial advice from people I trust, I managed to achieve my dreams and financial security. I meet many young people who simply don't have the know-how to turn their earnings into investments. I started this blog to share some of the advice I received over the years and highlight some of the best options I see out there in the marketplace. I hope it helps you to plan and start your own journey to financial success. Money doesn't grow on trees, but with the right advice, you can make it grow yourself.