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Court restrains lawyer over debt collection notices

Ms Pippa Sampson, principal lawyer of Goddard Elliott, has been restrained from sending debt collection notices by the Federal Court in Melbourne after the ACCC alleged the debt collection notices were misleading and deceptive.

Collection House Debt CollectionThe Federal Court of Melbourne issued an interlocutory order restraining Ms Pippa Sampson from sending the notices in question while the matter is before the court, with the interlocutory order to remain in place until the case is determined or a further order is made by the court. Ms Sampson consented to the order, but did not admit liability through her consent.

The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, corrective notices, the implementation of a trade practices law compliance program and costs against Ms Sampson for alleged misleading and deceptive conduct when representing video stores in small debt recovery.

According to the ACCC, it is alleged that from at least July this year Pippa Sampson made “misleading or deceptive representations in four debt collection letters and notices posted to addressees”:

The ACCC’s allegations are as follows:

  • if the debt was not paid and the video stores issued legal proceedings against the addressee, this would necessarily result in the addressee having to pay significant legal costs. However legal costs may not be recovered except in certain circumstances such as when a creditor is successful in legal proceedings and when the court makes orders for the payment of costs.  Also the Magistrates Court Act 1989 (Vic) and equivalent legislation in other States and Territories provide that legal costs cannot be recovered for small debt claims except in special circumstances
  • debtors had been served with a court document when they had not.
  • unless the debt was paid or the addressee was successful in defending himself/herself in any legal proceedings, Goddard Elliott could enter judgment without obtaining an order from the court. However judgment can only be entered by the court after legal proceedings have been commenced and determined against the debtor.
  • Goddard Elliott could itself enforce judgment by way of a warrant, garnishee order and/or an order against their wages which would be served upon their employer, when such remedies can only be ordered by the court.

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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