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Australian Govt takes debt collector to court!


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Just for info in case any Aussies on here are being chased by these bottom feeders...

 

Taken from the ASIC Website:

 

Thursday 26 May 2011

 

ASIC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against one of Australia’s largest debt collection groups in relation to their recovery practices.

 

ASIC alleges that Accounts Control Management Services Pty Ltd and ACM Group Limited (collectively referred to as ACM) contravened the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act or the Trade Practices Act by engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct and undue harassment or coercion while carrying on a debt collection business.

 

ASIC is seeking declarations that ACM engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, undue harassment or coercion in relation to eight debtors between November 2008 and June 2010. ASIC is also seeking orders restraining officers and employees of ACM from engaging in this conduct in the future.

 

The matter is listed before the Federal Court in Sydney on Friday, 3 June 2011.

 

Background

 

ACM purchases debt ledgers comprising predominantly of credit card, personal loan overdraft debt and telecommunications accounts from financial institutions and telecommunications companies then seeks to negotiate repayment programs with the relevant debtors.

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Hopefully more will follow the same route. ;)

Anthrax alert at debt collectors caused by box of doughnuts

 

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Will be eager to see the outcome of this :)

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Fair Debt Collection Practices In Australia

 

Debt collectors must act within the law when recovering debts. This means they must obey laws that are designed to protect you from harassment. Under these laws, a debt collector must not:

 

use physical force or coercion (forcing or compelling you to do something)

 

harass or hassle you to an unreasonable extent

 

mislead or deceive you (or try to do so)

 

take unfair advantage of any vulnerability, disability or other similar circumstance affecting you (this is known as .unconscionable conduct.).

 

The information below will help people who are currently dealing with debt problems or being contacted by debt collectors. It outlines your rights under the Commonwealth consumer protection laws, as well as general advice for those who are having difficulties with their level of debt.

 

Unacceptable practices by debt collectors

 

The types of conduct set out below are likely to breach consumer protection laws, and may breach other laws as well. This is not a complete list. If you experience any of these behaviours (or other similar misconduct), you should take action.

 

Extreme conduct - force, trespass, intimidation

 

If you are confronted by extreme conduct, report it to the police immediately.

 

Debt collectors must not:

 

use or threaten force of any kind towards you, any member of your family or any other person connected with you

 

damage or threaten to damage your property

 

block access to your property, or block your way

 

enter your property when you have refused permission, or fail to leave when you ask them to.

 

Unreasonable contact, harassment, overbearing manner

 

Debt collectors must not:

 

shout at you or abuse you, use obscene or racist language or make personal or demeaning comments (you might also want to report this conduct to the police)

 

contact you more frequently than necessary or at unreasonable times,for example, it is unacceptable to keep phoning you without a break or to contact you late at night or at other unreasonable times as a way of demoralizing or exhausting you.

 

make other persistent contact or unreasonable disturbances.

 

Embarrass or intimidate you through other people

 

Debt collectors must not:

 

threaten or harass your spouse, partner, family member or another person connected with you

 

make any unauthorized contact with a child under the age of 18 years

 

talk about your situation to other people (including family members, neighbors or co-workers) unless you have agreed to the contact,such actions may also breach the privacy laws: see 'Finding out about your privacy rights' (below) for more details

 

engage in conduct that draws people's attention to your situation (e.g. send open letters to a shared post-box, leave messages that others may listen to, make their identity or purpose known to people you work with again, such actions may also breach privacy laws).

 

False or misleading statements and/or conduct

 

Debt collectors must not:

 

make false statements about the amount you owe, or the status of your debt,for example:

 

say you owe a debt when you do not

 

say the amount you owe is greater than it is

 

say that you have no choice but to pay a debt if you have a valid defence against payment, unless there has been a court judgment: see the section on 'Disputing a debt'

 

say that your spouse or partner must pay your debt when they have no legal liability to do so: see 'Are you responsible for someone else's debt?' (above)

 

say that there has been a court judgment if this is not true

 

make false statements about what will happen if the debt is not paid, or what the debt collector intends to do,for example:

 

say that unpaid debts are a criminal offence involving the police or possibly jail (being in debt is not a crime!)

 

say that your children can be taken away from you (this is completely false)

 

say that you will be made bankrupt immediately, even though there has been no court judgment or bankruptcy proceedings started

 

ay that your goods (e.g. your car) will be seized and sold immediately, even though there is no mortgage over the goods and no court judgment (if there is a mortgage over the goods, generally you must be given notice and 30 days to pay first)

 

say that your wages will be garnished (taken), even though a court order to allow this has not been obtained

 

say that your credit rating will be damaged, if that is not true (privacy laws limit the type of information that a credit reporting agency can hold on file, how long it can be on file, and who can access the information

 

use other misleading appearances or actions, for example:

 

send letters demanding payment that are designed to look like court documents

 

pretend to be (or pretend to act for) a solicitor, court or government body.

 

Other unfair or unconscionable conduct

 

Debt collectors must not:

 

take unfair advantage of you if you are specially disadvantaged because of illness, disability, age, illiteracy or other circumstance

 

take unfair advantage of you if you are ignorant of the law, the debt recovery process, or the consequences of not paying a debt.

 

Complaining about harassment or misconduct by debt collectors

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) look after the Commonwealth laws that protect people from undue harassment and other illegal debt collection conduct.

 

You should report harassment that is serious and/or ongoing to the ACCC or ASIC, or to the consumer affairs or fair trading agency in your state or territory. Conduct involving assault or threats of violence should be reported to the police.

 

Statute Of Limitations On Debts In Australia

 

A statute of limitations is a statute in a common law legal system that sets forth the maximum period of time, after certain events, that legal proceedings based on those events may be initiated.

 

 

Why should you care about the Statute Of Limitations if you have a account in collections

 

A creditor may only bring action for the recovery of debts in accordance with the statute of limitations in the State or Territory in which the debt arose. The statute of limitations on debts for goods and services is generally six years and 3 years in the Northern Territory. This means that a court will not hear an action for payment where a debt is outstanding for more than six years. Legal action on such debts is therefore statute barred.

 

How does the Statute Of Limitations affect my credit report

 

Section 2.8 of the Credit Reporting Code of Conduct, issued in accordance with section 18A of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), prohibits the listing of statute barred debts with a credit reporting agency. Section 2.8 of the Credit Reporting Code of Conduct provides that a credit provider must not give to a credit reporting agency information about an individual being overdue in making a payment where recovery of the debt by the credit provider is barred by the statute of limitations.

  • Haha 1

Anthrax alert at debt collectors caused by box of doughnuts

 

Make sure you do not post anything which identifies you. Although we can remove certain things from the site unless it's done in a timely manner everything you post will appear in Google cache & we do not have any control over that.

 

Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

17 Port & Maritime Regiment RCT

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is really interesting. It's good to see that ASIC is such a force in Australia. I have just reported my bunch of clueless apes to ASIC and the OFT and others too. I am having such fun with this. I also have other tactics up my sleeve. It's a thing of beauty.

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