Saturday, June 14, 2014

When the debt collector calls

At the time of writing this I am receiving a number of emails from people concerned after receiving calls from debt collectors who seem to have a vast amount of knowledge re a particular situation. Be very careful about verifying who you are. More often than not these callers do not know who you are and if you actually belong to a particular debt and they really do not seem to care. They use fear of the unknown to get people to act on the spur of the moment. These callers are very good at either making you believe they have all your personal details or in some cases they have really done their homework. It is amazing how much information some people still reveal on social media sites.

Current Debt

If you are struggling with debt and are falling behind in payments NOW is the time to act. Hiding will not make them go away and can in fact make things much worse. Here are my tips for dealing with the creditors and debt collectors when they call.

Stay calm and remain polite even though they may not be

Do not make any rash promises and if you need time to think just say so-tell them to call back later

Ask for a copy of the current statement to be emailed to you- be wary of giving out current address,employer details ect.

I never negotiate verbally with debt collector- if they become abusive or make threats simply state you are not prepared to be treated like that and are going to lodge a complaint with ASIC. 
One of my greatest mistakes was beleiving debt collectors wanted to assist- they are only interested in one thing a that is certainly not your well being.

Once you have been contacted by a debt collector it is time to act- delay no longer as you do not want a judgement or default against your name.

Ask if the debt has been sold or whether you are still dealing with the original creditor

Contact the credit provider immediately and try to sort out an arrangement

Contact a debt negotiation firm and ask for assistance. There are some really caring and professional groups out there who will assess your situation and offer alternatives- remember you are in charge and never accept something you are uncomfortable with. I have included a link below for a firm that if nothing else gave me some reassurance that ll was not lost.

Above all else stay positive- becoming upset and stressed will not help. You are not alone and there is plenty of good help available. I able able to give general assistance and guide you in the general direction of a professional who can assist with your specific circumstances. 

Fox Symes helps thousands of Australians every year- click the banner and fill out the quick online form. A caring professional debt advisor will call you back to discuss your options and advise on the best course of action. 

Fox Symes & Associates - Debt Consolidation Solutions

Friday, June 6, 2014

Second hand debt

Never heard of it?? then read on

Secondhand Debt

 Something most people do not realise is that most debt which is being chased by the large debt collectors no longer belongs to the original creditor. The collection agency has actually purchased what is know as non performing debt for a small percentage of its actual cost. They then attempt to add costs and collect on the full amount. This is generally credit cards, phone accounts and unsecured personal loans. An example might be- John owes $5000 on a credit card he cannot afford due to loss of his job. The issuer has attempted to collect from John but has realised he cannot afford to pay. 
The cost of legal action and debt collectors will simply add more o an account they know John cannot pay so they write the debt off. Enter the lucrative world of the secondhand debt industry. These debts are usually put up for "auction" and sold to the highest bidder. The $5000 debt is probably purchased for under $1000. Enter the credit agreement John signed which stated something like in event of this account being in default of our terms we reserve the right to collect using any means available (within the law of course) and also recover all associated costs-  or something to that effect. See you thought all that legal mumbo jumbo was just there to fill in the pages. Any protection under the privacy act would also be lost when you signed that dreaded privacy form.
I hear you all screaming how can this be legal- I entered a contract with the credit providor why the hell should my debt now be with somebody i have never heard of. Much to my disgust it is according to a prehistoric property law click here if you feel the need to read it but it makes bugger all sense to me.
The bottom line is that it is legal and is a huge business which seems to be increasing all the time. The assignment of the debt to the new "owner" includes all contracts and the right to charge pretty well whatever they like in charges. The $5000 debt has now become $15000. This particular law needs to be tested in court to see if it holds up-  BUT who when in financial distress is gonna be able to fin the huge fees to test it.

Now a little bit of legal stuff just to confuse things a bit more.

According to the law there is no time period the creditors need to wait before selling the debt- as soon as you are conducting the account outside the agreed terms they are free to sell it.
For the assignment or transfer of the debt to comply with the law in all States and Territories in Australia it must satisfy 4 elements.
1. The assignment must be absolute ie. the entire debt including all rights and contracts must be transfered and replaced under the receiving parties control.
2. The assignment must be in writing and signed by the assignor- there is no requirement for the debtor to be shown this document-which is like a bill of sale I guess- only a notice of assignment as descibed in 4 below
3.  The intention of the parties to the assignment within the written document that it is an absolute assignment between the parties
4. Written notice to be given to the debtor- there is no time requirement for this notice as long as it is served BEFORE any attempts are made to enforce the debt.

I have not after speaking to hundreds of debtors since setting up this site come across one single person including myself who has been notified of the assignment of a debt verbally let alone in writing. 

It may be prudent at this stage to highlight the fact that debt becomes statute barred after 6 years in most Australian States and Territories ie. A debt can no longer be enforced or default listed after 6 years from the last time you made a payment or verified in writing that the debt was yours.

So when the debt collector calls about a debt you have forgotten about for whatever reason- or maybe you thought it had been sorted by an ex partner or whatever. Make sure you ask if the debt is still with the original creditor or if it has been sold. Request the relevant paperwork  to verify the assignment and insist on getting a copy of the original contract showing the debt is actually yours and also a current complete statement showing the balance and any additional charges. You are now in control. If the collection agency fails to comply simply CONTACT ME and I will point you in the direction of the correct action to take.

This is my view of the current very confusing law in relation to debt assignment in our fair country. If you have an opinion or something to add please let me know

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My debt journey

What makes me an expert is something I am regularly asked. There is no such thing but I have been there and can remember the sleepless nights, the overwhelming stress and the feeling of being completely alone. That cold feeling everytime the phone rang in fear of a creditor or debt collector. 
Know what I am saying then please read on. Note that the information following is based on my personal experience and what actually worked for me. I have learned over the course that any decisions you make should only be made after careful research. Another sad fact I discovered was there is a large amount of so called "professionals" out there more than willing to help at a cost. Try finding the money to pay for that when you are facing a financial crisis.

  • One of the greatest struggles I faced was dealing with the fact that things were going wrong and I was powerless to do anything about it or so I thought at the time.  The following list is a basic guide to help you cope with the pressure today. A small amount of knowledge can make a really bad situation seem just a little better.
  • You are not alone- millions of people, businesses, large global corporations and even countries around the world are suffering from financial pressure. My greatest mistake was trying to deal with that pressure alone. If I could change just one thing in the last few years it would be to have included my family, that bad decision cost me dearly.
  • Nobody will throw you out of your house today. Getting you out of your primary residence requires a proceedure to be followed through the courts. It is very rare that a judge would throw you out of your home but in saying that he will need to see you are making some attempt to make things right.
  • You cannot be arrested and jailed for being in debt.(generally speaking)
  • Borrowing more money to pay outstanding bills and loans is a recipe for financial disaster.
  • Debt collectors are not your friends. They have no interest in helping you they merely want to collect on a debt. Do not trust them. Promise them nothing they will not help you.
  • A lot of solicitors and accountants are much the same. They do not give "free" advice. Unfortunantly using them can sometimes be unavoidable but sadly for them the internet provides us with the power of being able to search and educate ourselves. The advice I was given by one of them was "slam the doors shut, bolt and see what happens"-thanks mate-that helped no end!!!
  • Admitting you have a problem is a big start. Talk to your family and a good friend. The initial response may be a little shaky but it will be worth it in the long run.
  • You are probably not going to win lotto heavens knows I tried
  • Talk to your creditors and explain you are facing problems. To a certain degree they will be prepared to help a little. Only make promises you can keep. Many of them would sooner get $20 a week then nothing at all. Using debt collectors costs money and if you do go broke they will get nothing.
  • Banks and financial institutions can be surprisingly willing to listen. The proceedure of reposession and reselling is expensive and they really don't enjoy kicking people out on the street(really)
  • Avoid get rich schemes. I tried heaps of them and not a single one earned me any extra income. There are legit systems out there which can help you make a good and regularly higher than normal income but they take time and effort. More about them elsewhere.
  • Hiding will make your stress levels much worse- answer the phone tell the story and it is done.
  • For some reason as soon as your financial situation looks a little shaky the "debt help" companies suddenly find your phone number-be very wary what looks free or simple may not be the case.
  • NEVER NEVER NEVER ever give you personal details to anybody. Do not hand over your credit card or banking details to anyone. Debt collectors can not stop legal proceedings just because they have your home phone number and address. Do not make rash decisions. Legal action does not happen overnight.
  • Try not to get upset and abusive. This only adds to stress levels and gets everyone offside. Calmly dealing with people and situations is so much more productive- but not always that easy!!!!
  • Do not make stupid decisions on the phone or even if confronted personally. Take the time you need and use the phrase "please try to be patient I will get back to you by ##### and make sure you do. This will give you time to research what may need to be done.
  • Bankruptcy can be an alternative but only after all avenues have been investigated. Debt agreements can be an alternative to bankruptcy in many cases. They allow you to pay off the debt at a reduced rate over a period of time suitable to your situation.

If you think your situation is desperate or you need someone to talk to now try these numbers. The operators are highly trained  and will listen. They are not there to judge you!!
Lifeline   13 11 14 anytime
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 anytime

Financial councillors are available in most areas and are generally free. Although I have heard some great things about them I personally found them to be somewhat rude and judgemental. Like I said that is just my opinion.

Financial Services Online Leads + Competition

Monday, May 19, 2014

Debt out of control?? help is here

 Debt is not a bad thing- we all have it and most of the time causes us no problems. So when is it an issue?

Are you struggling to make ends meet- missing the odd payment- using a credit card for week to week expenses??  The earlier a debt problem is attacked the easier it will be to fix. And yes there is a fix for ALL problems no matter how bad. Through this site I will attempt to help those in need. I do not need to know who you are or why you have a problem. I do not care how you got into debt whether it be gambling drinking or just a love of the good life- and for the record I cannot fix your marriage or help you win lotto.

All my advice is given from personal experience, I have no formal training, and yes I did go bankrupt as well as trying just about every other form of debt assistance available. As rare as it may seem I just want to help as I do know the damage overwhelming debt can cause to family and friends. So called business associates who suddenly have forgotten all the favours. Debt brings a whole new meaning to the words - sleepless nights.

It will come as no surprise over the coming weeks that I have no experience with websites or blogging or pretty much anything else to do with computers. I did put together a flashy website with all the bells and whistles a few years ago but the cost was crippling a trying to charge a small fee to help keep it going was against what I had set out to achieve.

Some main points to remember

You are not alone thousands of normal people feel just like you

Creditors and debt collectors cannot send you to jail

Being in debt does not make you a bad person or a loser- even the wealthy can fall on hard times

There is a vast amount of help available- but be wary the scammers are also lurking

There is no magic cure and the chance of winning lotto is very slim- anybody who says it is easily fixed is pulling your leg BUT it is not the end of the world

A lot of the information on bankruptcy is biased depending on who you are talking to- in cases of severe debt which has been left for too long there may seem like no option BUT you need to look at all avenues and make the decision yourself on the best available solution. Personally if given the chance to go back bankruptcy may not have been my best solution.

The same goes for official debt agreements- these are a big business these days and some of the salesman are very good- again weigh up all options before leaping in head first.

Do not be afraid to ask for help

Enough for now- please feel free to join me or should you need urgent help then please contact me


Fox Symes & Associates - Debt Consolidation Solutions