What are your rights when you can’t pay off your debt in time?

Manawatu Guardian - - CONSUMER ADVICE WITH CAB -

What rights do you have when a debt col­lec­tor is de­mand­ing money from you?

The cred­i­tor — the per­son you owe money to — will usu­ally hire a debt col­lec­tor to col­lect the money that you owe.

If you have a writ­ten con­tract with your cred­i­tor it ex­plains what will hap­pen when you don’t pay. The cred­i­tor can charge you late fees and col­lec­tion fees if they told you about the fees be­fore you made the agree­ment with the cred­i­tor.

Th­ese cover the costs of con­tact­ing you and try­ing to col­lect the money. Th­ese fees should be rea­son­able.

If you don’t think you owe the cred­i­tor, or you don’t think you owe that much you need to do some­thing about it. Don’t ig­nore it.

* Tell the cred­i­tor and the debt col­lec­tor that you don’t agree with the debt. The debt col­lec­tor may de­cide not to pur­sue you while the dis­pute is be­ing sorted out.

* If you can’t re­solve the dis­pute you can go to the Dis­putes Tri­bunal to ask for an or­der to say you are not re­spon­si­ble for the debt.

Cred­i­tors may have taken se­cu­rity over your prop­erty in your con­tract with them.

If they have se­cu­rity they have prob­a­bly in­cluded in the con­tract the right to re­pos­sess the goods if you stop pay­ing.

If you are hav­ing trou­ble pay­ing debts you can dis­cuss your op­tions with a bud­get ad­vi­sor, phone 0800 345 123. If there is no way that you can pay your debts then you may be able to ap­ply for one of sev­eral op­tions avail­able through the In­sol­vency and Trustee Ser­vice, phone 0508 467 658.

For free and con­fi­den­tial ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion on this or any other mat­ter visit the Palmer­ston North Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau in Han­cock Com­mu­nity House, 77 King St. Open­ing hours: MonFri from 9 am-4.30 pm, 357-0647 or 0800 367 222.

We have a free le­gal ad­vice ser­vice by qual­i­fied lawyers most Thurs­day evenings at 7.30 pm, and a JP is avail­able on Tues­days from noon — 2.30 p.m. No ap­point­ment is nec­es­sary for ei­ther of th­ese ser­vices.

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