Consumer Action Law Centre welcomes the release of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Debt Collection Industry Research Report released today, but says the industry can still do much more when it comes to respectfully engaging with vulnerable Australians.
“While it’s good to see the industry making some improvements, we still have major concerns about how some firms interact with vulnerable people” says Gerard Brody CEO of Consumer Action.
“We’re particularly worried about the debt collection activities of some energy companies and threats of litigation over small debts such as video fines. We are also worried about the often exorbitant charges of credit repair businesses, which target vulnerable debtors to offer a ‘service’ that many Australians aren’t aware they can access for free through ombudsmen or financial counselling services.”
The report suggests that complaints are low, but Consumer Action is concerned this overlooks the significant number of Australians who don’t know where to go for help, don’t know their rights or are too embarrassed or ashamed over their debts to seek help. Consumer Action congratulated the ACCC’s report, noting that it provided new insights into the size and make-up of the industry. The report is available on the ACCC website.