You legally should pay a debt that you have but that doesn’t give a debt collector or a creditor a right to do anything to make you pay. There are laws controlling the behaviour of debt collectors and lenders. They do not have the same powers as police officers or court sheriffs.
Certain behaviour by debt collectors is illegal, including:
- misleading you about what action the debt collector can take or about the debt (for example telling you there is court judgment against you when there isn’t)
- sending you a summons (court complaint) that has not been filed with the court
- contacting you by a method (phone, work phone, email or though family) when you have asked them not to
- using or sending you any document that looks like a court or tribunal document
- disclosing information about the debt to other people without your consent
- refusing to leave your home or workplace when you ask
- using physical force
- excessively harassing or pressuring you.
It is not always easy to determine whether the debt collector is behaving unlawfully. But if you feel they are treating you badly or not helping you to pay the debt in a way that you can afford to pay it, then contact Consumer Action Law Centre’s free advice line.