Do you owe money to lenders or your bank? If so, you are classified as a debtor. In today’s society, almost everyone has a debt and makes monthly payments to reduce it. However, if you fail to make these payments on time, or you stop making payments, debts collectors will be in your case.Debt collection in Singapore is a lucrative job. However, professional debt collection service providers hire people to do the job on their behalf. Honestly, professional debt collection can be unpleasant in some situations. When most people hear about debt collectors, what crosses their minds is the hard-hearted unscrupulous individuals threatening to throw anyone into the street if they fail to pay their rent or debt on time. While you might be tempted to portray such persons in a negative way, the fact is nobody forced you to borrow the cash in the first place.
Professional debt collectors in Singapore are companies are companies that specialize in dealing with accounts in long term areas. They swing into action when payments haven’t been made, or the person is making reduced payments. The CCAS or Credit Collection Association of Singapore came up with the debt recovery code of practice to enhance and regulate the credit collection business. It clearly outlines a step by step procedure of debt recovery with litigation being the last step in the process. Besides, the code is meant to raise the bar even higher to make it difficult for new players to enter the market.
The system expects debt collection agencies and their employees to behave with integrity towards the client and debtor at all times, act responsibly when conducting their business, examine their debt collection procedures to ensure they comply with the highest possible legal and ethical standards and safeguard the collected funds. Besides, it requires debt collectors to account for the funds regularly received, deal promptly with complaints from their clients to mention a few.
Members who are found to be acting contrary to the code will face the law. The code of conduct was developed to help debtors understand their rights when contacted by a debt collector, and they are confronted with a difficult situation. Without any doubt, debtors have to know their rights if they are looking to protect themselves from almost anything including:
- Unlawful assembly
This is one of the practices used by debt collectors to make you pay your debt. Debt collection agencies can decide to send a mob of unruly men to your residence. If that is the case, the debt recovery code of practice allows you to call the police on them. In Singapore, an assembly of more than five men can be convicted if you produce evidence to show that their intention is to use force to seize your property, commit criminal offenses, vandalizing property, threatening to cause physical harm to mention a few. Many debt collection agency employees have been put behind bars for showing up at a debtor’s residence or place of work.
- Violence and intimidation
In Singapore, debt collection agency employees are fond of banging on their debtor's doors and using abusive language in some cases. However, the law prohibits debt collection agency employees from using abusive language or behaving in a manner likely to suggest that they will use violence or intimidate debtors. If you come across debt collectors that are intimidating or threatening to beat you up, call the police immediately to rescue you.
Debt collectors are not supposed to damage your property in the process of recovering their money. There have been cases in Singapore where debt collectors have damaged their debtor’s property and caused lots of losses. Vandalism is against the law and if debt collectors damage your property don’t fail to take action against them.
Debt collectors can harass you in many ways. For instance, some can harass you with repeated calls, obscene language, and calls at odd hours, forcing you to pay, coming to your workplace when you haven’t invited them, contacting you during national holidays and much more. If you know that you have been mistreated in one way or the other, you have a good reason to call the boys in blue.
- Seizure of property
Most debt collectors believe that taking your possession is the best way to recover their money. For instance, some might decide to tow your car or seize your household belongings if you fail to pay up. They only have the right to take your property if they have permission from the courts allowing them to do so. Otherwise, they will be acting contrary to the code of conduct.
If you are fighting to repay the money that you owe, the debt recovery code of practice will ensure that your creditors treat you with some dignity. Now that you know your right and you are protected by the code, it's time to find means to settle your debt quickly. The first step that debtors are advised to take is to contact the debt collectors or lenders to negotiate their repayments. Most of the lenders and debt collectors are always ready to negotiate with debtors that are straight forward and don’t try to play cat and mouse games with them.
If you try to dodge and hide from them, they will not want to negotiate with you. Even though the debt recovery code of practice protects you from some of the unfair tactics used by unscrupulous debt collectors you are still expected to repay your debt off within the shortest time possible.
Since the debt collectors need to pay the debt, they will cooperate with you. In some cases, they will discuss with you the way forward about the debt repayment. The debt recovery code of practice is there to ensure that both debtors and debt collectors are happy since debt collectors will be able to recover their money without using wrong tactics.
Debt collectors that fail to adhere to the debt recovery code of practice can be reported to the CCAS or Credit Collection Association of Singapore. Besides, debt collectors that don’t adhere to the code can be sued if their debt collection practices result in personal or financial damages. Hopefully, you have learned a few new things about the debt recovery code of practice in Singapore and that you will not allow unscrupulous debt collectors to use the wrong tactics to recover their debt.