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Can you serve legal documents by Facebook?

By Andrew Behman, an Associate of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

Yes, it is possible to serve documents via Facebook. In an earlier blog “Serving debtors that don’t want to be found“, we discussed how legal documents can be served by substituted service. Service via Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are some of the many methods legal documents can be served by substituted service.

In possibly a world first in 2008, the ACT Supreme Court granted orders for substituted service for the police to serve legal documents via a private message on Facebook. Since then, there have been many occasions in which the courts have allowed legal documents to be served via Facebook. You might even remember that in 2012, the District Court of NSW allowed for legal documents to be served on the rapper Flo Rida via his official Facebook page. Those orders for service via Facebook were ultimately overturned on appeal because, among other reasons, the evidence did not show that Facebook page through which the documents were served was actually the Facebook page of Flo Rida.
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Serving debtors who don’t want to be found

By Andrew Behman, an Associate of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

In an earlier blog “When is an old debt too old to collect“, we discussed how some of the more difficult to collect debts are often placed in the ‘too hard basket’. An all too common reason that these debts are in the ‘too hard basket’ is because you can’t find the debtor. They’ve moved address and you can’t find them to be able to serve them with legal documents. However, this is not the end!

Yes, the law usually requires that legal documents be served personally. This is to make sure the defendant actually receives the legal documents and knows about the legal proceedings against them.

However, the court rules allow for you to serve legal documents in other ways. This is known as “substituted service”. Legal documents served by substituted service are deemed to be served and will allow you to continue proceedings to recover your debt. Some examples include serving legal documents by email, or even by leaving them at the last known address of the debtor and sending them a text to let them know where the documents have been left. In the social media era the courts are also becoming more prepared to make substituted service orders involving use of social media such as Facebook.

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Debt Recovery from a Company that has ‘Ceased to Be’…

By Renee Smith a Solicitor of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group.

What sort of debt recovery procedure exists for companies that have been deregistered? From time to time Matthews Folbigg are asked to advise clients in relation to debt recovery and enforcement of debts against debtor companies who have been deregistered.

So what can be done for debt recovery against a deregistered company?

Under section 601AD the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (“the Act”), once a company is deregistered it ceases to exist as a legal entity. As Monty Python would put it, the company, far from pining for the Norwegian fjords, ‘is no more’, and ‘has ceased to be’. As a result, all of the company’s property vests in ASIC (or in the Commonwealth if held on trust – a not uncommon situation for trading trusts) and any legal proceedings cannot be commenced or continued.

Unlike the Norwegian Blue, however, it is possible to resurrect a company that has been deregistered, for the purpose of enforcing a claim. This is under section 601AH(2) of the Act by making an application to the Federal Court or the Supreme Court of NSW as “a person aggrieved” by the deregistration. It is also possible for ASIC to reinstate the company if satisfied the company should not have been deregistered however ASIC’s preference appears to be to leave these matters for the Court if possible.
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Proposed Changes to Credit Reporting Before Senate: Will it impact debt recovery?

By Bonnie McMahon an Associate of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

The Commonwealth government has introduced the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Mandatory Comprehensive Credit Reporting) Bill 2018 (“the Bill“), which is currently before the Senate.

If passed, the Bill will require the four major banks (Westpac, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group) to supply their comprehensive credit information to credit reporting agencies, which will include information regarding customers that have been involved in a debt recovery process. The banks will also be required to keep the information they supply, accurate, complete and up to date, on all existing and new accounts.

How will the bill impact credit providers and debt recovery?

It is expected that these new credit reporting requirements will assist credit providers to make more informed assessments, when determining whether to approve credit applications. Further, it is anticipated that these reforms will assist credit providers to identify which applications may require future debt recovery, if approved.
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How to serve a statutory demand

By Andrew Behman, an Associate of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

In earlier articles, we highlighted the problems that arise when serving a Creditor’s Statutory Demand by post: see You’ve been served! and It Serves You Right?.

This issue reared its head again two weeks ago in winding up proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW in which we acted for the creditor. The Court was satisfied with all but one element of the evidence required to make the winding up order. The Court did not accept that the statutory demand had been properly posted (even though there was evidence of postage).

The statutory demand had been ‘posted’ by an Australia Post employee attending and collecting it from the office premises rather than the statutory demand being placed into a post box. The Court was not prepared to accept that the statutory demand had been posted because it was unfamiliar with this practice. The Court was more familiar with posting a statutory demand by placing the document into a post box or directly with an Australia Post outlet.
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When is an old debt too old to collect?

By Andrew Behman, an Associate of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

Sometimes, we are all a bit guilty of putting some of the more difficult to collect debts in the ‘too hard basket’ for too long. For so long that they become an ‘old debt’. But how long can you leave an old debt before it’s too late to collect? And the old debt becomes ‘statute barred’?

For debts in NSW, the clock generally starts running for a period of 6 years from the date the cause of action first accrues (e.g. the date of default). After the expiry of this 6 year period, the legislation restricts you from recovering the debt and it becomes ‘stature barred’.

However, it is possible to reset the clock on old debts depending on the circumstances and events that take place during the 6 year period. A few examples that might reset the clock for an old debt include:
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Credit Repair Schemes – A Magic Wand?

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has just issued a press release warning consumers about the aggressive and misleading sales techniques of companies promising to wipe clean bad credit reports.

As the press release makes clear, many of these companies are making promises they cannot keep and at the same time are seeking large upfront payments. See a copy of the press release here.

Despite what you might hear in certain advertisements, there is no “magic wand” for a debtor to improve their credit rating. The only ways that a credit report can be amended or updated is if the default listing is incorrect or the debt is paid.

The popularity of these credit repair schemes serves as a reminder that reporting a payment default remains an effective way to manage delinquent debt.

At Matthews Folbigg Lawyers we utilise default listing with reporting agencies as part of our multi-faceted approach to debt collection.

If you would like to discuss how Matthews Folbigg Lawyers can improve your credit collection performance, we would love to speak with you.

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Garnishee Orders – 5 things to know.

By Renee Smith a Solicitor of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

In a previous blog, which can be found here, we explained the advantages and disadvantages of using Garnishee Orders to recover money from a Judgement Debtor.

Here are 5 things you may not have known about Garnishee Orders:

  1. There is no filing fee on a Garnishee Order.

The process of issuing a Garnishee Order against a Garnishee is a quick and inexpensive process.

  1. You can issue a Garnishee Order with limited information about your Judgment Debtor.

An advantage of Garnishee Orders is that you don’t need a lot of information in order to use the garnishing process. In most cases, the name of the debtor is all that is required, however the more information that is provided the quicker the process will be.

  1. A Garnishee Order for Debts can be Repeated.

A Garnishee Order for Debts will garnish an amount owed to, or held on behalf of, the Judgment Debtor at a particular period of time.  However, Garnishee Orders can be issued on the same garnishee multiple times. Therefore, should a Garnishee Order by issued on a bank, but not recover any monies at that time, a Judgment Creditor may choose to wait a further period of time and issue an additional Garnishee Order to the same bank.
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