If you are facing problems with repaying your debt, it is essential to know what debt collectors are legally permitted to do in Singapore once they try to reach you. This piece will improve your understanding of the fair debt collection law or FDCPA. The rights it grants can help but only if debtors are aware of them.
All those who collect debts like debt collection agencies, companies and lawyers are under the fair debt collection practices law. Besides, this law covers family loans, household loans, auto loans, personal loans, mortgage, money owed on a personal credit card to mention just a few.
In the process of collecting debt, abusive debt collection agencies may try taking advantage of debtors who don’t know their rights. They use threats among many other methods to ensure their clients get their cash back and they get a slice of it too. Here are several things that are prohibited by fair debt collection law in Singapore.
1. Threats to seize property
Debt collectors in Singapore are not allowed to capture a debtor’s property if they fail to repay their loans on time. However, if the borrower secured the loan with their assets, then the law does not cover them. The debt collector will have to seize their property.
2. Threats to arrest debtor
Next, debt collectors are prohibited from threatening to arrest the debtor if he/she doesn’t repay the loan instantly. Creditors should be aware that debt collectors should never threaten to arrest them since that is intimidation which is regarded as a criminal act and leads to arrest. An unpaid debt is a civil matter, and debt collectors should be a bit careful when contacting debtors.
3. Constant calls
Some debt collectors will call you all day and night if you fail to pick up their calls after notifying them to stop. To avoid such a situation, the fair debt collection law prohibits debt collectors from contacting debtors after receiving a note obliging them to stop from them. If they fail to comply with the regulation, borrowers are supposed to remind them that they are going against the law.
Some debt collectors are ill mannered and hot headed. They go as far as assaulting debtors who are unaware of their rights that have failed to repay their debts. Many people who have debts in Singapore have ended up being threatened with attack or have been assaulted. No law in Singapore supports violence and for that matter debt collectors to resort to violence when going about their business. If you become a victim of violent threats or assault from a debt collector, the fair debt collection law protects you by allowing you to press charges against your creditors in a court of justice.
5. Unlawful assembly
In some cases, debt collectors are known for sending mobs of angry burly men to intimidate debtors. If you notice a crowd of such people assembling outside your home, the fair debt collection act allows you to call the police to come to your defense. Such a mob can be convicted if you present sufficient evidence showing that they had the intention to commit a crime, vandalize property, threaten you among others. Cases of debt collectors in Singapore sending angry mobs of angry young men are not new.
6. Sharing creditor information with third parties
The fair debt collection law also prohibits debt collectors from sharing information regarding your debt with third parties. However, it allows debt collectors to contact your close relatives, neighbours or employers to obtain some valuable information about you. The law allows creditors to reach these people without revealing to them any details about your debt.
7. Use of abusive language
Some debt collectors don’t have etiquette in their vocabulary, and they go on to address debtors using obscene language. Borrowers are not allowed to use abusive language when contacting you and in case you become a victim, you can take legal action against them. Debt collectors should address you in a decent way when trying to recover their cash.
8. Giving false information about debtor
Some debt collectors are cunning and often provide false information about their creditors to reap where they did not sow. For instance, some debt collectors may try to increase your debt by offering false information. If you become a victim of such, you need not worry because the fair debt collection law protects you and even allows you to take action against such unscrupulous creditors.
In Singapore, there have been cases of debt collectors vandalizing their debtor’s property when they fail to pay in time as a way of punishing them. This is very unfair and can lead to lots of losses when an expensive property is vandalized. If a debt collector destroys your property, don’t waste any time just report to the police immediately. The fair debt collection law prohibits debt collectors from damaging your property when trying to recover their debt.
The fair debt collection practices act also protects the debt collectors. It gives them the opportunity the renew their debt collection activities provided that they can prove that you owe them money. For instance, they can do this by providing a copy of the bill that you owe them.
If you know that the debt collector has infringed on your rights in any way, apart from contacting the police, you can go ahead and forward your complaints to the Office of the Attorney General office or the FTC. The FDCPA gives victims a period of twelve months from the date of the occurrence to file their complaints. After that, they may not be able to do so. Most people today in Singapore are facing financial difficulties that force them to go into debt. That is they key reason why the debt collection business has been thriving, and debt collectors are even prepared to violate the law to recover debts. Debt can help in most financial situations, however, accommodating debt collectors can prove to be a daunting task especially if you don’t know your rights. Although debts collectors have the right to go about their business, most debtors will be surprised to find out that they are governed by some rules and regulations to bring some sanity into the firm. Hopefully, you have mastered a few new things about the fair debt collection practices act and that you will not allow debt collectors that put their interests ahead to violate your rights during debt collection.