28 Facts About Debt Collectors in Australia

We have decided to compile an epic list of facts regarding debt collectors and collection practices in Australia. This way, the consumer can be better informed on their sovereign rights.

Facts about Australian Debt Collection

If you’re being chased right now by debt collectors for debts and money you owe, then this massive guide helps you in understanding your individual rights.

Not only that, but you’ll see where these debt collectors are able to run rings around you all day. The sort of stuff they can get away with.

Things like calling you as late at 9pm or visiting you when you have people over for a family BBQ on a Sunday. That stuff is all legal here in Australia!

You’ll be blown away by what they can do, as we reveal much more in this guide.

Let’s get right into it!

1. What is a Debt Collector?

Debt collectors in Australia are professional money finders. They chase after people who haven’t paid their taxes, phone/electricity bills, credit card, car loans or home loans. Essentially, when someone is having a tough time financially, you can bet a debt collector will be still trying to find their way to make the individual pay up!

What is a debt collector?
This is a debt collector – someone who calls people like you every single day!

2. What Happens if a Debt Collector Cannot Find Me?

After 6 years, Australian debt collectors generally will write a debt off if they haven’t been able to find you. It will still show on your credit history which could negatively impact your future. The only exception is ATO debts which can still be collected on for many years.

What happens when a debt collector cannot find an individual

Truth is, in this day and age, most debt collectors in Australia can find you very easily! They use expert tracking software, they stalk your Facebook accounts, they look at your friend’s photos and the locations. It gives them a pretty good picture of the situation. Not only that, but they have close connections with private investigators across the country.

It’s really hard to hide actually. Sometimes they have connections with big banks and they can see where your employment income is coming from, which then gives them an idea of where you work. Next minute your boss starts getting phone calls too. Scary, isn’t it?

3. How Can I Fight a Debt Collector?

You can potentially fight a debt collector in Australia by using our 100% FREE initial phone call option. If successful, those pesky phone calls, text messages, emails, voicemails and demanding letters for payments can be stopped. This involves us talking to them on your behalf to organize something suitable.

fighting a debt collector

4. What Can a Debt Collector Do?

They are allowed to call you up to 10 times per month, as late as 9pm at night. Debt collectors can also come to your house with paperwork plus follow you around on social media. Taking you to Court over the matter is something they certainly can do aswell.

debt collector entering house

5. How Do I Stop a Debt Collector From Calling?

Often they are calling you because you owe them money. If you speak to our recommended team, we can stop debt collector calls you as they can speak to us instead and we’ll tell them to stop calling you today. We’ll also stop interest and additional fees get pumped on to the original debt.

stopping debt collector calls

6. How Can I Deal With a Debt Collector?

You really have a few options for dealing with debt collectors in Australia:

  1. Speak to them directly and work out a solution (If you’re brave)
  2. If you’re too anxious, let our team do the talking (Free for you).
  3. Get help from a financial counsellor or National Debt Helpline.

Be rest assured that you need to be proactive and do something right now.

7. How do I Sue a Debt Collector in Australia?

You’ll have to engage a lawyer and go to Court to sue a debt collector, but unfortunately, almost all of them are operating legally. The magistrate often will vouch for them and you’re up for thousands in legal expenses. The best way to address the situation is to organize a payment plan and get on with life.

Suing a debt collector in Australia

8. How Long Can a Debt Collector Collect For?

Debt collectors are given a 7-year window from their last contact from the individual who’s running away from their financial obligations. The exception is the Australian Tax Office which can go for 10+ years chasing you. It’s a long time to be living in fear and anxiety.

9. What Do I Say to a Debt Collector?

The best words to say to a debt collector is “Ok. I’m having a tough time. Can we work something out?”. Often they are very open to this proposal. If you’re too scared to talk to them, then our team can do that for you.

10. How Can a Debt Collector Find Me?

Debt collectors in Australia are very smart in finding people online these days. There is always a trail and lead them to follow. Sometimes they will stalk your Facebook accounts or even hire private investigators to follow you around and see where you’re shopping every week. It’s scary!

11. Can I Pay Off a Debt Collector?

Yes – you can pay off a debt collector in either a lump-sum payment or a monthly payment plan. Most people go with the later as they are in financial dire straits. However, you cannot bribe an Australian debt collector to simply “go away” as this is an illegal practice.

12. How Do I Write a Letter to a Debt Collector?

It’s really quite easy to write letters to debt collection agencies. You just need some facts: Your reference number, your name and address plus the juicy details: Explaining why you’re having a tough time and what you plan to do in order to catch up on payments and clear the arrears.

13. What Happens if I Ignore a Debt Collector?

It’s very bad news if you ignore a debt collector in Australia, as the problem just gets worse. The debt gets bigger (more fees, more penalties and interest applied) plus they are less willing to arrange a comfortable payment plan for you. This is why you need to take action today to arrange something with a debt collection agency, since ignorance isn’t bliss.

14. How Many Times Per Day Can a Debt Collector Call?

They can call up to 3 times per week, or just once per day. Anything beyond this is a breach of Australia’s laws. The only exception is where you have provided them with an exception to call you more times, but you need to formally agree to it audibly or in writing.

15. How Much Will a Debt Collector Settle For?

Often they want the original debt amount. Let’s say you have a $10,000 debt which you owe. They probably bought it off your bank for $5,000 and are expecting to make a $5,000 profit from you. So while they will demand the original payment, you clearly have some leeway in the negotiation. A long term payment plan is our #1 recommendation.

16. Can I file a Complaint Against a Debt Collector?

Absolutely you can! If you feel they have been mistreating you, harassing you or otherwise being bad people, then you can complain to them directly. Each has its own internal term that looks after this. You might also wish to contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 today.

17. What Do I Do After I’ve Paid the Debt Collector?

Right – so you’ve paid the lump sum or organized a payment plan to the debt collector. Now you might want to see if they will take the black marks off your credit history. The most important thing now to do is making sure a portion of what you earn each week goes towards paying off the debt.

18. How Do I Get Out of Paying a Debt Collector?

Unfortunately, it’s really hard to get away from paying debt collectors in Australia. They are a sophisticated bunch whose aim is to get as much money as they can from hard-working Australians who are doing it tough. You may wish to speak with the NDS for expert advice.

19. How Do I Stop Debt Collector Scams?

There isn’t really a thing known as ‘debt collector scams’ because they are looking for a legitimate person. These companies are sophisticated enterprises that don’t really make mistakes. They are closely monitored by ASIC and the ACCC to operate legitimately across the country, so you can’t really stop them as such.

Debt collector scams Australia

20. When Can a Debt Collector Sue Me?

Basically, debt collectors will spend months sending you demanding letters, making tough phone calls and endless SMS messages to hassle you before suing you and taking you to Court. They will sue you for the original debt amount + court costs which can amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Avoid this and take action today!

Debt collector knocking on front door

21. How Do I Pay The Debt Collector Less?

The best way to pay less money to a debt collector is with a negotiated settlement, say 20% less than the original debt amount. If you can explain your dire situation early on without ignoring them, then they are more willing to cooperate with you. Another option is with a long term payment plan over several years.

22. Who Do I Report Debt Collector Harassment To?

The best way to report debt collector harassment is by addressing your concerns to the ACCC. How do you do this? By telling them what you’ve experienced (harassing phone calls, messages, letters) and the harm that it has caused your life.

Debt collector harassment Australia

23. How Many Voicemails Can a Debt Collector Leave?

Have you received multiple voice messages from debt collectors that say “We tried to call you. Please phone us immediately regarding an urgent personal matter”? Well – they are allowed to leave up to 10 voice calls or messages each month!

Debt collectors phone calls
Debt collectors can call you and leave you voicemails as late as 9pm at night!

24. How Many Calls From a Debt Collector is Considered Harassment?

It’s widely considered that more than 10 calls per month are considered harassment and you may have grounds for compensation. That said – they can send as many letters, text messages and emails as they wish! Eitherway, you can’t escape from them as they are chasing you closely.

25. Where do Debt Collectors Work?

They mostly work in big office buildings in the main capital cities in Australia, but with COVID-19, some are working from home or on the road. In the offices, they setup like sales floors where their staff have to meet KPIs and sales targets each week. In other words, getting people to cough up money as easily as possible. Sometimes they drive past people’s houses to check if they’re home.

Debt collectors use sophisticated means to track you down.

26. What Debt Collector Do I Owe?

The best way to work out which debt collector that you owe money to is by checking your most recent phone calls, text messages and letters in the post. Each debt collector has to identify themselves by the name of the company that they are calling from.

Stop Normalizing debt
Normalizing debt is really bad

27. Can I Ignore Debt Collectors?

No. Ignoring an Australian debt collector only makes things worse. There is a famous quote “Don’t ignore or this will cost you more”. If you’re having a really challenging time, then we may be able to help.

Ignoring debt collectors

28. How Long Can a Debt Be Chased in Australia?

Debts in Australia can be chased for up to 6 years for all states and territories except for NT, but the clock resets each time you make contact with the debt collector. The ATO can chase debtors for up to 10 years. It’s really hard to run and hide from this mob as they have sophisticated tools to chase you down.

Stopping Communication With Debt Collectors

The Debt Free Community is here to help everyday Australians. Our recommended mediation service can talk to debt collectors so you don’t have to.

Imagine all those phone calls, letters, emails and text messages instantly stopping. Better yet – you don’t even have to talk to these rude people ever again!

If you’d like to discover more, then please reach out to our team today!

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