The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have released a guide to help customers deal with debt collectors and creditors.
Titled Dealing with debt collectors: Your rights and responsibilities, the guide aims to provide consumers with information concerning their legal rights and responsibilities.
Among other things, the guide explains where consumers can find help to work out a budget and repayment plan, what to do if they are contacted by collectors, and what behaviour is acceptable from a collector.
“If consumers are having problems repaying their debts, it’s important to take action without delay,” ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said. “This free guide explains the options available to consumers to help them cope with the situation and hopefully get back on track.”
ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said action would be taken against creditors and collectors working with questionable practices.
“Where creditors or collectors disregard consumer protection laws and the rights of consumers, we will consider appropriate enforcement action against them,” Ms Rickard said.
Excite Mobile Pty Ltd was prosecuted by the ACCC in 2013, found guilty of misleading and unconscionable telemarketing practices, as well as using undue coercion. The Federal Court ordered Excite Mobile to pay a $455,000 penalty and fined the company’s two directors a total of $95,000.
ASIC took legal action against ACM Group Limited in 2011, which resulted in The Federal Court finding the company had harassed and coerced debtors.