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Thread: GOVERNMENT NOTICE: COUNCIL FOR DEBT COLLECTORS

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    GOVERNMENT NOTICE: COUNCIL FOR DEBT COLLECTORS

    This is for those businesses who want to make use of Debt Collectors to bring in outstanding finances owed to you. Please remember you are responsible for their actions when they disobey the law.

    GOVERNMENT NOTICE
    COUNCIL FOR DEBT COLLECTORS
    NO. R. 663 16 MAY 2003
    DEBT COLLECTORS ACT, 1998 (ACT NO. 114 OF 1998)

    CODE OF CONDUCT

    The Council for Debt Collectors has, under section 14 of the Debt Collectors Act, 1998 (Act No. 114 of 1998), with the approval of the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, adopt a code of conduct in the Schedule.

    SCHEDULE
    1. In this code of conduct “the Act” means the Debt Collectors Act, 1998 (Act No. 114 of 1998), and any word or expression to which a meaning has been assigned in the Act has the meaning so assigned to it.
    2.(1)The Council was established by the Act to exercise control over the
    occupation of debt collector.
    (2) In terms of section 14 of the Act, the Council adopted this code of conduct in order to govern the conduct of debt collectors. When considering a complaint, the Council shall take the provisions of the Act as well as the code of conduct duly into consideration in determining whether or not a debt collector is guilty of improper conduct.
    (3) The code shall be binding on all debt collectors in the Republic, and all
    debt collectors shall honour it in letter and in spirit.
    3. All the transactions and actions of a debt collector in the process of
    administering and collecting debts shall at all times be just, fair and honest. In
    the course of administering or collecting a debt, a debt collector shall not
    deliberately lie about, or misrepresent any fact, truth, instruction or mandate in any way, with the intention of benefiting such a debt collector or his or her
    employer or principal at the cost or expense of a debtor, a creditor, or any
    member of the public.
    4. A debt collector shall at all times respect the confidentiality and privacy of
    any information supplied by a debtor and shall be factual, truthful and tactful in using such information.
    5.(1) Should a debt collector disclose or supply information about the conduct of a debtor’s account for the use and benefit of creditors, to such creditors directly, or to a credit bureau, such information should not be specifically prohibited from disclosure by the debtor, or prohibited from disclosure or use by law, and subject to all such information being truthful and verifiable, and in compliance with this code.
    (2) A debt collector, in the process of collecting a debt, shall have due regard
    for the person, the property and the civil rights of a debtor, and shall ensure that any action taken against a debtor does not humiliate, threaten or cause distress to such a debtor.
    (3) In collecting or attempting to collect a claim a debt collector shall not –
    (a) collect or attempt to collect for a creditor money in excess of the
    amount owing by the debtor to the creditor, except for interest and
    costs legally recoverable;
    (b) misrepresent the true nature of his or her business, or threaten to
    institute legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, if there is no
    intention to carry out such a threat;
    (c) utilize a communication which simulates legal or judicial processes;
    (d) threaten violence or harm to the debtor, those related to him, or his or
    her or their property;
    (e) use obscene, defamatory or threatening language when
    communicating with a debtor or persons related to him;
    (f) communicate with a debtor when his or her legal adviser has notified
    the debt collector in writing to communicate with the legal adviser;
    (g) abuse or intimidate a debtor in any manner, whether orally or in writing,
    in order to induce a person to pay a debt;
    (h) call on a debtor, or park in front of a debtor’s residential or work
    address in a vehicle which is conspicuously marked in any way that
    discloses its purposes and whereby the debtor may be embarrassed;
    (i) make telephone or personal calls or send written communications
    which may constitute excessive harassment of the debtor, his or her
    spouse or any member of his or her family;
    (j) make telephone calls or personal calls for the purpose of demanding
    payment of a debt on a Sunday or between the hours of nine o’clock in
    the evening and six o’clock in the morning on any other day, unless the
    debtor or his or her spouse requests the debt collector to do so;
    (k) engage in any other excessive conduct which can reasonably be
    expected to harass the debtor or persons related to him or her;
    (l) disclose or threaten to disclose information which could adversely
    affect the debtor’s reputation for creditworthiness, knowing or having
    reason to suspect that the information is false;
    (m)initiate or threaten to initiate communication with the debtor’s employer
    prior to obtaining final judgment against the debtor, in order to exert
    pressure on the debtor, although this does not prohibit a debt collector
    from communicating with the debtor’s employer solely to verify
    employment status or earnings or where an employer has an
    established debt counseling service or procedure;
    (n) communicate with an employer, acquaintance, friend, relative or
    neighbour of the debtor, unless such a person stands surety for the
    debtor, or unless it is to obtain the debtor’s address or telephone
    number;
    (o) disclose or threaten to disclose to a person other than the debtor or his
    or her spouse if also liable, information concerning the existence of the
    claim, except through proper legal proceedings, although this does not
    prohibit lawful disclosure to another person of such information,
    provided the debtor is notified of such communication;
    (p) disclose or threaten to disclose information of a debt which with valid
    reason is disputed by the debtor, without disclosing the fact that the
    debtor disputes such debt;
    (q) give to any person, by implication, inference or express statement, any
    false or misleading information that may be detrimental to a debtor, his
    or her spouse or any member of his or her family;
    (r) give, or threaten to give, by implication, inference or statement, to the
    person who employs a debtor, his or her spouse or any member of his
    or her family, information that may adversely affect the employment or
    employment opportunities of the debtor, his or her spouse or any
    member of his or her family;
    (s) make a demand for payment of an account by telephone, personal call
    or in writing, without indicating the name of the creditor to whom the
    debt is owing, the balance of the account and the identity and the basis
    of the claim of the person making the demand, or
    (t) commence or continue an action for the recovery of a debt in the name
    of the debt collector as plaintiff, unless such debt has been ceded to
    the debt collector in good faith.

    6. A debt collector shall at all times comply with the Act and other laws of the
    Republic and shall adhere to all codes and regulations made in terms of the
    Consumer Affairs (Unfair Business Practices) Act, 1988 (Act 71 of 1988), or any other law, where the contents of such a law, code or regulation determines the relationship between a creditor, debt collector and any debtor.
    7. (1) A debt collector shall ensure that, in the administration of a debtor’s
    account, the collection process is handled professionally.
    (2) In administering an account a debt collector shall not employ or allow any
    employee, agent or any other third party employed or instructed for the purpose of administering such account to make use of any method or technique or procedure aimed at deliberately humiliating or threatening the person of the debtor, the business entity of such a debtor, or the family or relatives of such a debtor.
    (3) A debt collector shall ensure that criteria of fairness and activities of the
    highest moral standards are at all times maintained in any environment where
    debtors’ accounts are administered and collected.
    (4) A debt collector shall never allow any personal emotion or any unfriendly
    feelings towards any debtor to become evident in any dealings with such a
    debtor, but shall at all times retain a professional approach, and shall be guided in all dealings by sound principles and procedures of debt collection and debt management.
    7A. In terms of a debt collector’s general duty to members of the public and
    other persons and bodies a debt collector:-
    (a) shall not, in conducting his or her business, do or omit to do any act
    that is or may be contrary to the integrity of debt collectors in general;
    (b) shall protect the interests of his or her client at all times to the best of
    his or her ability, with due respect to all other parties concerned; and
    (c) shall not wilfully or negligently fail to perform any work or duties with
    such degree of care and skill as might reasonably be expected of a
    debt collector.
    [Paragraph 7A inserted by Government Notice R 93 of 4 February 2005]
    8. The primary purpose of the code of conduct is to promote exemplary
    conduct. Notwithstanding this, a debt collector shall be guilty of improper
    conduct, if he or she contravenes any provision of the code of conduct, or fails to comply with any provision thereof and may be dealt with in accordance with the relevant disciplinary procedure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBBEE_CompSpec View Post
    Please remember you are responsible for their actions when they disobey the law.
    May I ask why or how is the business responsible? We've contracted a business to collect an outstanding debt. If they break the law, it's them that have broken the law? How does the business incur liability?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    You also contract a bookkeeper/accountant/auditor to handle the running of your income and expenditure each year as well. If they make a mistake at SARS or the DOL do they take the blame? The onus is on you as a professional to do business with a company equally professional or even better. If the debt collector acts illegally it could cost you the outstanding finances. Who are you going to blame now.
    Last edited by BBBEE_CompSpec; 12-Nov-09 at 02:00 PM. Reason: Syntax error

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBBEE_CompSpec View Post
    You also contract a bookkeeper/accountant/auditor to handle the running of your income and expenditure each year as well. If they make a mistake at SARS or the DOL do they take the blame?
    When it comes to SARS and tax affairs, if a registered tax practitioner gives you illegal tax advice I understand they go to jail. You will be lumbered with what you should have rightfully paid, no doubt.

    I'll endorse the point about seeking out competent professional assistance though - always first prize
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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