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What Debt Collectors Can And Cannot Do

Is it your first time using debt collection services? There’s a good chance you have a few questions up your sleeve about what your debt collector can and cannot do for you. Here, we go into detail about what kind of behaviour is acceptable and what is downright illegal when it comes to debt collection.

Means of contact

Debt collectors have the jurisdiction to contact a person by phone, letter, email, social media or face-to-face.

Restrictions on contact

Though debt collectors can utilise a variety of ways to get in contact with someone who owes you money, there are restrictions on when contact can be made:

  • Phone: a debt collector cannot call more than three times a week, or 10 times over the course of a month. Furthermore, debt collectors can only call between 7:30am-9:00pm on weekdays and 9:00am-9:00pm on weekends.
  • Email/social media: while debt collectors may use this kind of technology to make contact with a person, they must have reasonable certainty that the account is not shared with another person and their message can only be viewed by the subject in question.
  • Face-to-face: this type of contact should only be used as a last resort. If a subject does not respond to phone calls, letters or emails, a debt collector may visit him or her at home. If this is the case, the debt collector may only visit between 9:00am-9:00pm (both weekdays and weekends). Visits must also be restricted to no more than once a month.

Debt collectors also cannot contact a person on public holidays.

Laws on privacy

Debt collectors are required to respect a person’s privacy and as such, they cannot share information about someone’s financial situation without his or her permission.

Illegal behaviour

Debt collectors are prevented from carrying out certain actions. It is against the law for debt collectors to exhibit any of the following behaviour:

  • Making threats, trespassing or using intimidation. Debt collectors may not threaten a subject (including threatening physical force towards a person), damage a property, block access to a property or remain on a property when asked to leave (unless they have a Court Order).
  • Harassing or verbally abusing a person. A debt collector is also not at liberty to shout at a subject, make demeaning comments towards him or her, or use obscene or racist language.
  • Engaging in deceptive conduct. Last but not least, debt collectors are prohibited from making false or misleading statements about the amount of money a subject owes or the consequences that will arise if a debt is not settled. They also cannot send letters that have been disguised as court documents or pose as a court or government body.

How Utilising a Debt Collection Agency Can Improve Your Cash Flow

We all know that cash flow is king when it comes to business. Sure, you might have proven yourself to be a profitable company, but that doesn’t mean you’re clear of bankruptcy if your cash flow starts to run into problems. As such, it is vital that you have the right amount of cash in the right places at the right time. This is where debt collection can provide some serious aid – not just to your cash flow, but to reducing bad debt write-offs and provisioning as well.

Profit on paper isn’t enough

Just because your books show a nice little profit doesn’t necessarily mean you’re winning the business game. If you’re waiting for payments to come through from your sales, your cash flow will inevitably experience a negative impact. Worse still, there’s a good chance you’ve already paid for your stock and staff, right? Without the necessary cash in the kitty, you’re going to struggle to stay afloat.

While cash can be sourced from other avenues like capital investment and borrowings, there’s no doubt that profit is the first choice for generating money. As such, the success of your business depends heavily upon your customers’ payments.

What affects your cash flow?

There are three key pillars that businesses should pay attention to when it comes to safeguarding their cash flow:

  • Credit policy – it is vital to implement a solid credit policy. A number of factors should play a part in determining your credit policy: you need to understand your customer, assess the risks of entering business with them, and collect key information such as years spent in business, purchasing expectations and a credit report.
  • Terms – payment terms must be clearly defined, with all protocol and relevant parameters outlined. Some terms that are particularly crucial for protecting your cash flow include payment dates and late-payment penalties. Creating and enforcing terms and conditions is imperative to supporting your cash flow, so make sure this information is clearly stated on each invoice you send out.
  • Accounts receivable – put simply, an increase in your accounts receivable inevitably hurts your cash flow. A slow-paying debtor means more cash remains locked-up, while the sooner the payment is made, the faster the flow of cash. As such, it’s important to have a proper accounts system in place – online packages such as Xero have built-in accounts receivable components to help keep you on-track and up-to-date.

How can a debt collection agency help maximise your cash flow?

If you’re facing problems with your cash flow, it might be time to leverage the services of a debt collection agency. A debt collector can comb through your internal accounts, identify missing payments and reach out to those who owe you money.

27th June 2013 – Announcement

Blast Off For A Cure” raises over $80,000 for Sydney Childrens” Hospital sponsored by Australian Recoveries & Collections Pty Ltd

Australian Recoveries & Collections is very pleased to report that more than $80,000 was raised from the “Blast Off For A Cure” fundraising activities which will go directly to the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Centre for Cancer and Blood Disorders.  Not only did the event raise a large sum of money which will all go directly to the Sydney Children’s Hospital, it helped raise awareness of Neuroblastoma which is the leading cause of cancer deaths of children under 5, it is also the most common solid cancerous tumor found in young children and for children with aggressive Neuroblastoma the survival rate is just 40%.

I would like to sincerely thank all Australian Recoveries & Collections customers, suppliers, employee’s and friends who made auction donations, donated money, bought raffle tickets and shared our fundraising pages (http://arcmercantile.com.au/giving-back-to-the-community) . With so many great charities competing for peoples support I was overwhelmed at people’s generosity and support of a cause that is so close to my heart having my God Daughter Isabella suffering from the disease.

Australian Recoveries & Collections will continue our support for this great cause by pledging $50 out of the first years membership of any customer we sign.  Anyone else who wants to get involved and donate can go to our fundraising page on our company website and make a donation

25th September 2012 – Announcement

Australian Recoveries & Collections are very pleased to announce the formation of a strategic alliance with Milne Berry Berger and Freedman (MBBF) as our preferred legal services provider in NSW. MBBF is a practice that has been providing legal advice to families, businesses, organisations and charities for over 87 years and has chosen to align themselves with Australian Recoveries and Collections with the view to uphold Australian Recoveries & Collections mission to deliver “Industry Leading Recovery Rates and Best Practice Customer Service”.

This alliance will see a very familiar team reunited with Australian Recoveries & Collections founders Andrew Smith and Craig Brugman having worked with Mittu Gopalan (Partner MBBF) and MBBF for many years whilst at Dun & Bradstreet. This new engagement follows the end of a 20+ year relationship between Dun & Bradstreet and MBBF, where MBBF was very proud to have achieved a 98% win ratio and 80% return in defended matters.

When Mittu Gopalan was asked about the recent engagement with Australian Recoveries & Collections, her comments were “It’s great to be working with Andrew and Craig again. Many of Australian Recoveries & Collections core values around service and maximising returns for customers are strongly aligned with those of MBBF. I’m excited about what the future will bring”.

When Andrew Smith (Australian Recoveries & Collections Managing Director) was asked about the alliance his response was “I am extremely pleased that Australian Recoveries & Collections have been given such a great opportunity to utilise the wealth of experience and knowledge of MBBF. We have always experienced great service in the past from Mittu and her team and I can only say that D&B’s loss is Australian Recoveries & Collections gain”.

24th September 2012 – Announcement

Australian Recoveries & Collections are delighted to announce the appointment of Shane Ashton to the position of National Business Development Manager. Shane comes to Australian Recoveries & Collections after roles with Dun & Bradstreet where he held the position of Senior Account Manager where he was responsible for the account management and new business acquisition within D&B’s debt collection and credit reporting’s divisions. Shane more recently worked at Orient Capital as a Business Development Manager targeting ASX listed companies to utilise Orient Capitals investor relation services.

Shane’s main focus will be to manage new customer acquisitions and upholding Australian Recoveries & Collections core value proposition of “Industry Leading Recovery Rates with Best Practice Customer Service”.

To contact Shane Ashton please email him at shane@arcmercantile.com.au or call  on his direct line on 02 85709221.

21st August 2012 – Announcement

Australian Recoveries & Collections Pty Ltd (ARC) are very pleased to announce the appointment of Gwen Charman to the position of Senior Account Manager within our commercial debt collection team. Gwen comes to Australian Recoveries & Collections with over 25 years experience in the collections industry working for both the internal collections department of P&O Shipping and also working for external mercantile/debt collection agencies including NCML and Dun & Bradstreet.

Gwen takes on the responsibility of ensuring we uphold Australian Recoveries & Collections customer promise of “Industry Leading Recovery Rates and Best Practice Customer Service” to our major commercial customers.

To contact Gwen Charman please email her at gwen@arcmercantile.com.au or call her direct line on 02 85709206.

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