The activity of debt collection companies is highly controversial. On the one hand, it can be said that they are on the side of people claiming their debts, and the debts must be returned. On the other hand, their behavior and debt collection methods are sometimes disputable and even unethical. If someone finds themselves in a difficult financial situation, even because of an unpaid loan, they must remember that the debt will not cancel the rights of the citizen and the consumer, and the payment must be legally and in accordance with moral principles. Therefore, it is worth knowing which actions of the debt collector should be objectionable and which of them are subject to appeal.
Discussion practices of debt collection companies
Taking a payday loan at one of the popular loan companies and its late non-payment must mean that sooner or later the lender will take decisive steps and begin to enforce repayment. Initially, in the form of SMS or email reminders, and then – by phone and mail. Prompts and reminders are expensive, which may cost from a few to several dozen zlotys at a time, but usually the repertoire of lenders’ debt collection activities ends. At this time, the debt is usually transferred to a professional debt collection company, which may act under a power of attorney or as a new owner of the debt.
Selling debt is also the situation that the borrower is most afraid of. Professional debt collectors, especially those in the field, are usually associated with phone harassment, unpleasant visits at home, or attempts to contact their neighbors, extended family or even an employer. In addition, they are often accused of behavior designed to frighten the debtor, aggression against him, verbal actions that offend dignity or offensive. You don’t need to do such activities, and you can’t even agree.
Field debt collector – what can he do during a home visit?
To answer the question exactly, first you need to clarify exactly who the debt collector is. And this is an ordinary civilian employee of a private company. In addition to the appropriate personnel characteristics, he does not need to have any qualifications for the employer to entrust him with his duties. For this reason, it does not acquire any special rights by law. So when it comes to legal issues, he is in the same position as the debtor, and the only enforcement action he can take is to try to get along and solve the problem by means of a settlement, not by means of financial (and even more forceful) coercion.
The debt collector, unlike the bailiff, cannot enter the house uninvited. For a home visit to take place, the debtor must invite him. If he does not do this, the debt collector must leave with nothing and, at best, try again. Of course, attempts to pay a visit may not take place unlimited – repeated visits during the day, paying visits late in the evening or at night, contacting neighbors and disseminating information about debt are also not allowed and can be classified as harassment and even disturbing my home.
Even if there is a visit and the debtor enters the debt collector into the house, he must provide his personal data (name and surname), provide his / her ID card and provide the original power of attorney at the client’s request.
Harassment with telephones – is this already exceeding the rights?
Steady phone numbers are unfortunately part of debt collection practices that weren’t able to eradicate. Calling every dozen or so minutes at any time of the day or night, or even on public holidays, should not take place, because it is contrary to the principles of social coexistence. What’s more, threatening the debtor with untrue consequences is also subject to persistent harassment – that parental rights may be taken away for debts, that the debtor will be jailed or evicted, that the case will be reported to the employer, etc. Threatening to pick up a car or other debtor’s property, threatening that “detectives” will do an interview about the standard of living of the debtor. The debt collector does not have to know what assets the debtor has or how much he earns and whether he has any savings – only the bailiff has that right.
What to do if a debt collector makes life difficult?
If we only have confirmation of the debt collector’s trouble, it is worth reporting to the police. Similarly to harassment by phone calls or visits, threats and intimidation can also be reported to the police. In accordance with art. 190a § 1 of the Penal Code, who through persistent harassment of another person or a loved one arouses in them justified sense of threat or significantly violates his privacy, is punishable by imprisonment for up to 3 years. an official letter demanding a change in mode of action and informing about potential legal consequences.
If we are not sure what steps we should take, it is worth first to consult with the regional spokesman for UOKiK, who will check the circumstances of the event and suggest what to do. It also has the right to mediate in negotiations between both parties and, if necessary, support the debtor in court.
However, we should remember that the Ombudsman’s task is not to protect the debtor from repayment, but only to protect him against unethical practices. Polish law assumes that everyone has the right to a sense of security, dignity and respect for the right to privacy. However, he does not release him from the obligations that resulted from his deliberate action and are completely legal.