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Privacy Commission Critical of Debt Collector

At CollectIT we pride ourselves on our service. Our success rate and testimonials from so many of our clients speak volumes.
Not all debt collectors get it right however.  Late last year the Privacy Commission was highly critical of one such entity.  Which debt collector it was is not important (it certainly wasn’t CollectIT). The facts give a good example of what not to do.
In this matter the unnamed debt collector pursued the father of two young children for a debt on behalf of a client.  The debt related to alleged unpaid fees for a child care centre.
The father had withdrawn his children from the child care centre over safety concerns but was billed by the child care centre because it said it required a month’s notice before a withdrawal could be made.
The debt collection agency required payment by a set date.  Upon receiving the demand the father phoned and emailed the debt collection agency disputing the debt. Responding to that email the debt collection agency asked him the basis on which he was disputing, and asked him to explain why he had waited until now to dispute the matter.  The father responded saying he had received one demand and had acted quickly.
The unnamed debt collection agency did not respond, according to the Privacy Commission and instead posted four letters demanding payment.
The father wrote to both the debt collection agency and the Childcare Centre explaining his dispute over the debt.  By the time the debt collection agency received the letter, they had already listed the debt with a credit reporting agency.
The father complained to the Privacy Commissioner.  It was investigated and found that the debt collection agency had not taken reasonable steps to check that the information about the debt was accurate, up to date and not misleading.
The debt collection agency was unable to give any evidence to the Privacy Commissioner that it had checked with its client, the Childcare Centre as to whether the debt had been disputed.
Other agencies involved also supported the father.  The Ministry of Education upheld the man’s complaint about lack of safety at the Childcare Centre.  The Disputes Tribunal determined the question of liability over the debt.  In the end it found the fathers dispute was valid and the Childcare Centre was required to write off the debt.
This matter shows the importance of getting the correct information before the debt is pursued.  At CollectIT we take great care in obtaining full information about the debt from our clients. Then and only then is action against a debtor taken.
Rest assured if a debtor raises any dispute you will be contacted.  We look after your interests and would never want to open our clients up for criticism and investigation as the debt collection agency did in this matter. If you have any debts outstanding, contact CollectIT today on 07 834 9111 or info@collectit.co.nz.