Banned debt collection practices

Certain debt collection practices are banned in Victoria. These include: 

  • entering or threatening to enter a private residence without lawful authority
  • using any threat, deception or misrepresentation to obtain consent to enter a private residence
  • refusing to leave a private residence or workplace when asked to do so
  • exposing or threatening to expose a person or a member of that person’s family to ridicule or intimidation
  • using a document that looks like an official document but is not
  • impersonating a government employee or agent
  • attempting or threatening to possess any property to which you are not entitled. For example, when collecting a debt, you must not say you are going to seize a home or other property that you cannot legally take
  • disclosing or threatening to disclose debt information, without the debtor’s consent, to any person who does not have a legitimate interest in the information
  • making a false or misleading representation regarding the nature or extent of a debt, or the consequences of not paying a debt. For example: 
    • falsely representing that a debt is a fine or other penalty imposed by law, or that a person has committed an offence
    • threatening to make a false or misleading credit report.
  • contacting a person by a method that they have asked not to be used, unless there is no other means available. For example, you must not contact a debtor at their workplace when they have asked to be contacted only at home, or contact them directly when they have asked that all communications be handled by their lawyer or financial counsellor
  • contacting a person about a debt after they have advised in writing that no further communication should be made about that debt. This applies unless you: 
    • contact the debtor through an action issued by a court or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
    • are threatening the debtor with court or VCAT action that the creditor intends to take
    • are communicating with the person to comply with a requirement under the National Credit Code. For more information, visit the Credit section of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission's website.
  • communicating with a person under 18 about a debt, if the person is not the debtor
  • demanding payment of a debt from someone without having a reasonable belief that they are the debtor. For example, demanding payment from every ‘J Smith’ who resides in a suburb in an attempt to collect a debt owed by John Smith
  • communicating with a person in a manner that is unreasonable in its frequency, nature or content. For information on appropriate hours and frequency of contact, visit the Debt collection guideline: for collectors and creditors section of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website.

Where to next

Find out what a debt collector is
Find out who can become a debt collector
Learn about restrictions on debt collecting
Find out about penalties that may apply to debt collectors

Last updated: 27/03/2017

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