Any customer or client that owes you money outside of normal trading terms is an understandable source of frustration. That frustration is compounded when the individual company involved is clearly more than capable of paying, has not raised any issues with the quality of the products or services you have supplied, and is behaving as though non-payment of debts is a normal and acceptable part of doing business.
Even though the temptation is to adopt a non-compromising, even aggressive method of debt recovery in these cases, it is wise to stop and consider the restrictions imposed on debt recovery in NSW. If you fail to do so you may unwittingly breach legislation designed to protect debtors, and get yourself in more trouble than when you started – which I am sure will only make you even more frustrated!
Consumer protection laws in NSW and across the Commonwealth open up a minefield for those carrying out debt recovery. For example, before setting out to contact a debtor it is necessary for you to ensure:
- that you do not disclose the existence of the debt to another person at the debtor’s place of business or workplace;
- that you disclose the required information about yourself to the debtor;
- that you only use the means of contact that are authorised under the legislation;
- that you only make contact for a “reasonable purpose”;
- that you only contact the debtor during stipulated times and for a stipulated number of times;
- that you do not collect or disclose information about the debtor’s personal circumstances in breach of the Australian Privacy Principles;
- that you do not contact a debtor who is represented by a lawyer;
- that you keep accurate and up to date records of all communications with a debtor including any debt settlements;
- that you do not misrepresent what the consequences are for the debtor of non-payment.
And the list goes on and on.
It is not therefore surprising that many businesses attempting their own debt recovery simply throw their hands in the air and give up.
At Matthews Folbigg Lawyers we offer a simple, transparent and economical debt recovery service that takes these concerns about consumer legislation out of your hands so you can carry on with the running of your business. We are experienced in getting on to the front foot with debtors without breaching the consumer guidelines.
If you would like more information or advice on this area, please contact a Principal of Matthews Folbigg Insolvency, Restructuring & Debt Recovery Team:
Jeffrey Brown on (02) 9806 7446 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Mullette on (02) 9806 7459 or email@example.com.