Debt collectors told to show compassion
Debt collectors should show compassion as the public struggled to cope with financial problems caused by the coronavirus crisis, the Government has said.
The sector was asked to think about responsible ways to work deal with people in difficulties.
A government spokesman said: “As Bermuda responds to the challenges of the Covid-19 global pandemic, exercising social and corporate responsibility is key.
“The Government has kept its commitment to provide relief to eligible residents by way of an unemployment benefit, as well as other measures designed to reduce financial stress during these uncertain times.
“In turn, local banks have offered relief to their customers regarding mortgage and loan rates.
“Debt collectors are now asked to consider how they can better work with their clients, within the framework of existing legislation.”
The spokesman added that consumers were protected under the Debt Collection Act 2018, which included strict rules to govern businesses that provide credit and debt collection services.
The Act laid down that unfair debt collection practices included, but were not limited to:
• The use, or threatening the use, of violence or other criminal means to harm the person, or property of any person
• The use of obscene or profane language or language, the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader
• Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass
• Placing any telephone call without the disclosure of the caller’s identity.
But debtors were also reminded that the Act did not clear them of their debt. Visit gov.bm/how-manage-debt for information on how to manage debt.
Complaints about unfair debt collection techniques can be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or at Consumer Affairs on 297-7627, where a message with contact information can be left.
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