Debt collectors are being urged to carry out their duties in a professional manner.
A debt collector is a person or organisation that is in the business of recovering money owed on delinquent accounts.
Addressing a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank at the agency's head office in St Andrew, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), Dolsie Allen, said there are some debt collectors who treat consumers unfairly.
“Sometimes, the way in which they respond to persons, they treat you as if… you are such criminals and they come and they do things that are illegal and disrespectful,” she said.
She noted there are times when a consumer, who becomes delinquent with their payment, would have pledged two pieces of furniture and the debt collector would visit that person's home and “take everything out of [their] house”.
Allen said there is a process to be followed when debt collectors are being assigned by financial institutions.
“If a person is late in one payment, you cannot just send to repossess. You need to give adequate notice before you actually take action of repossession,” she said, noting that such action should only be employed when all others have been exhausted.
Allen reminded consumers that when they engage in hire-purchase arrangements, the item does not belong to them until the final payment is made and the balance on the account is cleared.
“It actually belongs to the vendor, the entity from which you purchased the item. So, you cannot dispose of it without letting them know or you cannot make major changes to it without letting them know. You have to have that type of communication,” Allen advised.