‘Know your rights when dealing with debt collectors’ — Yap

Yap (in yellow) with the businessman seeking advice and assistance at SUPP office.

KUCHING, July 12: Debtors must know their rights and need not fear or panic when approached or contacted by debt collecting agents.

SUPP Public Complaints Bureau (SPCB) chief Wilfred Yap said debtors are entitled to request the collection agents to show their authorisation card, as well as revealing the name of the company they represented, for verification purposes.

Debt collectors are also not allowed to use improper methods or any form of harassment when contacting a debtor, he added.

“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,” Yap said in a statement today.

While it is legal in Malaysia for debt collecting agencies represent companies to collect debt, they must be licensed debt collecting agencies.

Such regulations are not widely known to the public in the field of debt collecting and problems arises when debt collectors are not tactful during the process of collecting payments, he continued.

Yap advised debtors who received a threat of injury to himself or family members, as well as damage of property from debt collector, to immediately lodge a police report for action.

He brought up the subject as he was recently approached by a businessman from Kuching, who sought advice and assistance, as he was scared after a debt collector approached him for payment for outstanding debts.

The debt was for goods, which the debt collector alleged he owed to a supply company.

Yap explained that 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 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 of the time frame is three years for the price of goods sold and delivered from the date of the delivery, after which companies can no longer take any action,” he said.

Yap said the bureau was always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone facing problems or come across problems of public interest but does not know how to deal with it.

Anyone requiring assistance can contact SUPP PCB at 016-7797688 or 082-246999, or go direct to SUPP head office to request for assistance. — DayakDaily