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Knowing your Rights when Dealing with Debt Collectors

Debt collection can be an extremely touchy subject, whether you are on the receiving or giving end, it is a process that needs to be handled with the utmost care. There are many stringent regulations surrounding the activity which keeps creditors and debtors protected, while ensuring that debt can be recovered without intimidating, harassing or in any other way infringing on the human rights of those who owe money to the concerned company. So, to help you handle your next debt collection situation in accordance to the law and with the regulations set out by the CFDC, these actions sometimes committed by debt recovery representatives are those that you have the right not to put up with.


They cannot collect more than you owe


As a debtor, individuals are accountable to amounts and interest owed as they have been agreed upon with their creditor. Any service fees added to this to compensate the collection agency, is solely the responsibilities of the company or individual who has hired them. This means, that under no circumstances can the debt collection agency insist that debtors pay the service fee or any additional costs. They can only request an amount as agreed upon as part of the creditor and debtor’s transaction.


They cannot threaten or intimidate you


Making threats of legal action cannot be done if the collector has no intention of taking such action. Additionally, and more importantly, any actions or speech that makes the debtor feel intimidated, insecure or unsafe can also be regarded as an infringement on their human rights as set out by the South African constitution, and in some cases, the collection agency as well as those who hired them can be taken to task for such behaviour.


They cannot misuse forms of communication


It is worryingly common practice for collection agencies to send letters to debtors that closely resemble legal documentation or court summons, in the hopes that it will scare them into paying their debts more quickly. However, one should remember that this is technically not a legitimate practice, and shouldn’t be happening. If collection representatives use such techniques, they can be reported to the CFDC.


They cannot harass you


Finally, and this is important for both creditors and debtors to remember, an induvial’s right to privacy is protected by the constitution, which makes harassment from collection agencies a constitutional sin which often gets ignored. The bottom line is, that if they are calling you in the evenings or on weekends, these are grounds to consider harassment charges. As a business, collection agencies need to communicate with debtors during office hours, and should make no attempt to try and harass them in the privacy of their own home.


Contact Brian Blignaut Attorneys today


For more information on sourcing a debt collection agency that adheres to best practices set out by the CFDC, contact a consultant from Brian Blignaut Attorneys Alberon today, and speak to us for more details on our various legal and debt recovery services.

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