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Credit & Debt Recovery

Australia has imposed various debt recovery laws and regulations, and created statutory bodies to enforce these rules. They involve procedures which can be used by a party to recover monies owed, and also regulate the behaviour of these parties whilst collecting the debt, to prevent tactics such as harassment and intimidation being used in the process of debt recovery whilst preserving the rights of creditors to reclaim money that belongs to them. It is important that organisations involved in recovering debt are aware of their legal obligations.

Procedures Available

When debtors fail to meet their obligations, options must be explored for recovery of the debt. How debts can be recovered depends on a number of considerations including the sum of the debt, the industry in which the company operates and the parties involved.

Consultation

A consultation with the person who owes you the money would be the first step in recouping your debt. Communications with the debtor must always be for a reasonable purpose, and should only occur to the extent necessary. Quinn Lawyers can advise you on what to say and how to approach the person in order to maximise your chances of success.

Letter of Demand

If consultation with the debtor is unsuccessful our lawyers can negotiate on your behalf. If this does not work we can discuss and write a Letter of Demand for the debtor. A letter of demand would inform the other party that the money is outstanding and give them a time period to settle the matter or face legal action. It can also:

  • Accurately explain the effects of non-payment, including any legal remedies available to the you as a collector and creditor
  • Make arrangements for repayment of a debt
  • Put a settlement proposal or alternative payment arrangement to the debt

Legal Proceedings

If the letter of demand does not produce a successful outcome, our experienced lawyers can initiate legal proceedings. The amount of debt owed will determine which of the four main courts your matter may be heard in. Our lawyers can advise you about the legal process while minimising all unnecessary costs.

Recovery Behaviour and Consumer Protection Laws

When recovering debt personally or on behalf of the business, it is important to understand what type of conduct is acceptable. In Australia, debt recovery procedures are governed by various legislation, codes and regulations, and are enforced by statutory bodies such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

These laws and rules are at both state and federal level and include the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (formerly known as the Trade Practices Act 1974), various state Fair Trading Acts , ASIC regulations and their equivalents in the Australian Securities and Investments Act 2001(Cth). These regulations control fair dealing in business which makes intimidation, harassment and other unethical forms of debt recovery illegal.

These laws create three general prohibitions that are relevant to debt collection activity. These laws ban the use of:

  • Physical force, undue harassment and coercion,
  • Misleading and deceptive conduct, and
  • Unconscionable conduct

What Can We Do?

When you or your business is having significant problems in a debt or credit recovery case, it is important to seek professional advice to be informed on the accessible procedures and ensure you pursue all the options available. At Quinns, we are dedicated to providing specialist and comprehensive debt recovery services and understand that our clients need practical, timely and cost effective advice in terms of debt recovery legal services. Make an online enquiry or call us on +61 2 9223 9166 today.

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The Quinn Group operates Quinn Consultants, Quinn Lawyers, Quinn Financial Planning and Quinn Financial Solutions. The Quinn Group provides related information in regard to legal, accounting and financial planning issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation* *other than for the acts or omissions of financial services licensees.