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Debt Collection – Who Signed the Document?

By Darrin Mitchell, Senior Associate at Matthews Folbigg in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

In the current age of technology, with capabilities to do just about anything, it seems redundant and “old fashioned” to be asked to execute a document by hand writing your signature on a sheet of paper! Because of this, debt collection can be a distinct (and difficult) exercise.

When opening a credit account, a supplier of goods and/or services will generally forward a Credit Application and a Deed of Guarantee to the customer. These documents are helpful in debt collection as they include information from the customer as to the customer’s financial viability, and security for the repayment of amounts owing should debt collection become necessary. In days gone by, these documents were to be completed by the customer physically writing on the forms as required, then posting these back to the credit provider, or perhaps giving the documents to a sales representative for the supplier.
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Debt Collection – Liquidated or Unliquidated Debt?

By Darrin Mitchell, Senior Associate at Matthews Folbigg in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group


Is your debt collection for a liquidated or an unliquidated amount? What is the difference?

In a debt collection action, the debt is often defined by the amount specified in tax invoices issued for the supply of goods or services. Debt collection for these types of debts involves a “liquidated” debt. This is because the debt which is the subject of the debt collection is ‘liquid’, in the sense of having a specific monetary value. There may be an ability to claim interest in debt collection proceedings for a liquidated debt, but again this will be a defined amount and calculated in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreement between the parties.

Debt collection for an “unliquidated” debt is quite different. This is where there has been a claim which requires quantification, such as debt collection for loss claimed by a party, or damages suffered where the amount of loss or debt is not certain. Unliquidated debt collection will arise when the amount a person has lost cannot be simply defined and needs to be the subject of evidence and determination by the Court. Examples of debt collection for unliquidated debts might include motor vehicle accidents or defamation claims.
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Collecting Money? Avoid Going It Alone!

By Ellen Ferris, a Solicitor in Matthews Folbigg’s Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group.

Collecting money, especially from people you know, is always a delicate business.

Collecting money requires you to be persistent, and all too often becomes something that we let slip to the back of our mind to avoid the hassle, inconvenience, and sometimes even embarrassment of chasing valued customers for unpaid debts. Certain debts, even large ones, can be placed in the “too hard basket”, and never followed up on. Certain timelines for recovering debts can then expire, or more simply, debts can be forgotten or ignored.

Matthews Folbigg Lawyers understand these issues. When it comes to collecting money we are very experienced, and know that handing over the problem of collecting money to lawyers is normally only considered after the last resort has failed. However, at Matthews Folbigg Lawyers we can go about collecting money in a way that suits your special relationship with your customers. Whether you would like a gentle reminder or a final warning, if you are not getting anywhere with your own attempts at collecting money, we would be happy to assist.
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Danger – COVID-19 Safe Harbour Flaw Requires URGENT External Administrator Appointment

A fatal flaw exists in the government’s COVD-19 safe harbour legislation. This means directors must appoint an external administrator to their company on or before 24 September 2020, if they wish to take advantage of the COVID-19 safe harbour protection from insolvent trading.

At the beginning of the global pandemic the Australian Federal Government introduced temporary legislation to protect directors from liability for insolvent trading during the global COVID-19 pandemic. This safe harbour protection from insolvent trading will excuse directors for liabilty in respect of debts incurred in the ‘ordinary course of business’ during the operation of the temporary legislation, presently due to expire at the end of 24 September 2020.

However, for reasons which are not clear, but possible linked to the urgency with which the legislation was passed, the drafters included an additional fundamental and crucial requirement to gain the benefit of this COVID-19 safe harbour protection from insolvnt trading. That requirement is that in order to gain this COVID-19 safe harbour protection, an external administrator (either a voluntary administrator or a liquidator), must have been appointed before the legislation expires at the end of 24 September 2020.
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Debt Collection Sydney – Statutory Demands and the Expiration of the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 amendments

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 (Cth) was introduced, which resulted in various temporary changes to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and Corporations Regulations 2001 (Cth) in respect of statutory demands.

These temporary changes include extending the time period for a company to respond to a statutory demand from 21 days to six months, and increasing the monetary threshold for a creditor to issue a statutory demand from $2,000 to $20,000.

These changes, which came into effect on 25 March 2020, are currently only applicable for a six month period which is due to expire on 25 September 2020. This means that any statutory demands served on or before 25 September 2020 must comply with the temporary changes.

Importantly, these changes only apply to statutory demands which are served between 25 March 2020 to 25 September 2020; not for debts which are incurred during the same period. This means that, on the basis that there are no extensions to these temporary amendments, a creditor can issue a statutory demand pursuant to the original requirements for debts incurred 25 March 2020 to 25 September 2020, as long as the statutory demand is served after 25 September 2020.
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Clearing your debtor ledger – Get in touch with your not too friendly Debt Collection Lawyer!

By Hayley Hitch, an Associate of Matthews Folbigg Lawyers in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

Do you hate debt collection? Do you have a list of debt collection tasks that is getting longer every day? Have you been unable to accomplish the critical debt collection part of debt collection? If only debt collection were easier, and there was some way of moving those pesky debtors off the debt collection ledger! And don’t forget the cashflow side of debt collection – wouldn’t you like to have a bit extra cashflow back in your budget?

You need a Debt Collection Lawyer!

Matthews Folbigg assists clients with a range of debt collection services, including issuing letters of demand, negotiating settlements, negotiating instalment arrangements with debtors, and where the debt collection process requires, commencing court proceedings and enforcing judgments. We can also assist with debt collection before it even becomes debt collection – making sure you protect your interests by reviewing your terms of trade and where applicable, assisting with the registration of caveats, or personal property security registrations. Debt collection doesn’t need to wait until debts are overdue. We want to help you come through COVID-19 with a breath of fresh air and a tidy debt collection ledger.
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Responding to Debt Collectors

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

If you receive a letter of demand from a debt collector, you might be wondering what you should do and whether you should respond to the debt collector. We have set out four helpful tips below which might assist you to respond to debt collector correspondence.

  1. Do not ignore the debt collector!

Whilst it might be daunting or scary receiving a letter of demand from a debt collector, you must ensure that you read the letter of demand and consider the claim being made against you. If you do not respond to the demand, it is likely that the debt collector may proceed with commencing proceedings against you. Debt collector proceedings and judgments can have unintended consequences, including being recorded on your credit profile, or leading to bankruptcy, so it is important that you take steps to deal with the debt collector’s claim as soon as possible.
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OPPOSING PREFERENCE PAYMENT CLAIMS AFTER COLLECTING MONEY

Claims by a liquidator for monies to be repaid to a company now in liquidation are unfortunately for most businesses a common event.  The good deeds done in collecting money can come undone and hurt your bottom line.

As a successful credit management team, you will have recovered monies that may have been received shortly before the debtor company was placed into liquidation, or the individual declared bankrupt.  This can then bring a new raft of issues should the liquidator or trustee be savvy enough to want the money back.

The reasoning behind the recovery of monies by a liquidator is to ensure that in the final days and months of a company prior to liquidation, monies paid by the company are paid equally to all of its creditors and that none are preferred over others.  Similar provisions apply in a bankruptcy matter.

Whilst this seems fair on its face, it does not assist those businesses that are diligent and actively take steps to ensure that their customers comply with the terms upon which they agree to abide by in receiving the goods and services provided.
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