Do not use illegal ways to collect debts, said Wilfred Yap
SUPP Public Complaints Bureau (SPCB) Chief Wilfred Yap was recently approached by a businessman from Kuching seeking advice and assistance as he was scared after a debt collector approached him for payment for outstanding debts for goods which the debt collector allege he owed to a supplier company.
Yap would like to inform the public that it is legal in Malaysia for debt collecting agencies to represent companies to collect debts but only if it is undertaken by licensed debt collecting agencies. As regulations are not widely known to the public in the field of debt collecting, problems arise when debt collectors are not tactful during the process of collecting payments.
He advised debtors of their rights and that debtors need not panic or feel scared when a debt collector contacts them. The debtor is entitled to request the debt collector for an authorization card, the name of the debt collection company he represents and a written notice of particulars of the alleged debt for verification purposes.
Debt collectors are not allowed to use improper methods or any form of harassment when contacting a debtor. This means debt collectors are not allowed to use abusive language, to humiliate or intimidate debtors. Debt collectors are also not allowed to threaten or take action that are illegal which includes trespassing and the use of scare tactics. Any debtor who receives a threat of injury to his person or property or to his family members from debt collectors should immediately lodge a police report to enable the police to take action.
In Sarawak, under the Sarawak Limitation Ordinance (Cap 49), there is a time limit in which a creditor can take legal action against a debtor. This means creditor companies must initiate legal claims within a certain time frame. After that time frame has passed, a debtor is no longer obliged to repay their debt. One example is the time frame is three years for the price of goods sold and delivered from the date of the delivery of the goods, after which companies can no longer take any action.
SUPP Public Complaints Bureau is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone facing problems or who come across problems of public interest but does not know how to deal with it. Anyone requiring assistance can always call SUPP Public Complaint’s mobile number at 016-7797688 or 082-246999 or go direct to SUPP Head Office to request for assistance.
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