Dealing with any type of international debt collection is always going to be a tricky matter. No matter what country you are talking about, there are going to be a host of different rules and regulations that you are going to be expected to follow in order to conduct your collection in an appropriate manner.
Here in the United States, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects debtors from predatory collection tactics, and many other countries have used this act as a model to create their own legislation to outlaw these unethical types of collections.
This is exactly what happened in the Philippines after lawmakers realized that a large number of predatory lenders were taking advantage of their citizens. They have since adopted a number of laws that you are going to want to be aware of if you are attempting to collect on a debt in that country.
Debt Collectors Must Fully Identify Themselves
Any form of communication between a debt collector and a debtor located in the Philippines must be started with the collector clearly identifying themselves as a debt collector and also stating the business or organization they are representing. It is also illegal to misrepresent yourself as either a police officer or an officer of the court.
No Middle-of-the-Night Calls
Anyone making collection calls to debtors in the Philippines must do so between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm. This is considered to be a reasonable time for collection calls, and anything outside of this window is considered an “inconvenient” time.
If you are making collection calls to the Philippines from here in the United States, you are going to want to make sure that you have the time differences figured out correctly so that you are not accidentally calling debtors outside of the permitted times.
Don’t Contact Debtors at Work
It is also off limits to contact a Filipino debtor at their place of employment. Many employers consider this type of contact to be counter-productive and unnecessary, so you will have to contact the debtors outside of their working hours, but still within the normal 8 am to 9 pm time window.
No Harassment or Abusive Language
Just like here in the United States, any type of harassment, threatening, or abusive language is strictly prohibited in the Philippines. You should make every attempt to keep things as calm and civil as possible, both because it is required by law and because it has been proven to be the best way to actually collect the sum you are after.
No Additional Fees
Another predatory tactic that is illegal in the Philippines is the addition of excessive fees to any outstanding debt. You are not able to charge the debtors for your aggravation in collecting the debt.
You Must Stop Contacting If Asked
Finally, debtors in the Philippines have the right to request that you stop contacting them altogether. If they submit this request to you in writing, you must honor it and pursue your collection in a different manner that doesn’t involve contacting them directly.
As you can see, there are a number of rules and regulations that apply to debt collection in the Philippines. However, most of these laws also fall into the categories of common sense and basic decency. So as long as you are conducting your business in a respectful manner, you are more than likely going to be on the right side of the law as well.