Debt collection agencies

Have you ever been harassed by a debt collection agency? There are a whopping 551 of them operating in Australia at the moment, mostly small operations. They’re supposed to follow certain consumer protection rules - but sometimes they don’t.


The worst of all are the bottom dwellers who buy debts at cents in the dollar then hound you constantly. They default list you even if you dispute the debt and they trash your credit rating. In the end, you have to prove you don’t owe the original utility company or Telco the money rather than the other way round which is them proving you owe the money. This is an unconscionable reversal of the long established onus of proof where the person who asserts something has to establish it satisfactorily.

I’d like a change in the law to require credit providers, debt collectors and debt buyers to prove the original debt before they can harass you or default list you. This would mean they have to go to the trouble of getting an order from a small claims Tribunal for the debt if it was under $10,000. This is the no-cost jurisdiction limit. They would not be allowed to go to a Court where they could intimidate you with lawyers. You could dispute the charge at the Tribunal who would determine if it was valid or not. If you win, they have to leave you alone. Until it is determined, they have to leave you alone. If you lose, they can chase you or default list you with a credit bureau if you don’t pay.

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A win …