There are very few things in the debt collection industry that are more complicated and confusing than international debt collection. As if dealing with all of the rules and regulations here in the United States isn’t enough, when you introduce another county into the mix, you also bring along their set of rules and regulations regarding debt collection.
In many countries, this makes actually collecting your debt infinitely more complicated. However, there are also countries like Australia that have very reasonable laws in place that are actually quite similar to those here in the US. Let’s take a closer look at some of those laws regarding debt collection in Australia.
Defining Debt Collection in Australia
Much like in the US, a debt collector in Australia is defined as any person attempting to collect an outstanding debt on behalf of a business. That means that both individuals making their own collection attempts and commercial debt collection agencies are viewed as collectors.
In Australia, all debt collectors are expected to treat the people they contact with respect and dignity. And on the flip side, debtors are also expected to cooperate with legitimate debt collectors.
Understanding Debtor Rights
Debt collection practices in Australia are governed by the Australian Consumer Law, which does the formal work to define exactly what a debt collector can and cannot do.
The law strictly forbids any underhanded collection practices like using physical force or coercion, harassing debtors, misleading debtors or misrepresenting yourself, or taking unfair advantage of any disability exhibited by the debtor.
As you can see, these laws are meant to weed out the unreputable collectors. So as long as you are conducting yourself in an appropriate manner, you will likely be on the right side of the collection law in Australia.
Rules of Engagement
There are, however, some basic rules of engagement that come into play when you are contacting a debtor in Australia. The most important of which is that you must be contacting them for a “reasonable purpose.” This can include requesting a payment, making arrangements for a payment, questioning a missing payment, reviewing a payment plan, or recovering mortgaged goods.
When contacting a debtor about one of these reasonable purposes, you must limit contact to a maximum of three phone calls or letters per week and a total of 10 in a given month. You also can only call between the hours of 7:30 am and 9 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 9 pm on weekends. You also must avoid contacting debtors on national holidays.
As you can see, debt collection laws in Australia have similar practices that we endorse here in the United States. As long as you are conducting your business in an ethical manner, there is a good chance that you are already on the right side of the law in both countries.
However, the more you can learn about the rules in regulations that apply to debt collection abroad, the more likely you are going to be to leverage that information into actually receiving payment from your international debtors.