Penalties - debt collectors

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As a debt collector, it is your responsibility to understand your legal obligations under the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012.

You must also understand your responsibilities under other laws that set rules for your business – such as the Australian Consumer Law (Victoria), which applies to all Victorian businesses.

You may be penalised for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012. Some offences and their penalties are listed below.

Consumer Affairs Victoria has a range of options to deal with breaches we identify. For more information, view our Regulatory approach and compliance policy section.

Monetary penalties under the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 can be imposed by a court or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, after it finds charges proven.

The value of a penalty unit is $161.19 for financial year 2018-19. This amount will change at the start of each financial year. For more information, visit the Indexation of fees and penalties page on the Department of Treasury and Finance website.

Section of the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012

Obligation

Maximum court-imposed penalty for breaching your obligation

47(2)

You must not engage in debt collection if you are a prohibited person.

240 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment for a person.

1200 penalty units for a corporation.

50(3)

If as a prohibited person you are granted permission to engage in debt collection, you must comply with any conditions imposed by the Business Licensing Authority.

240 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment for a person.

1200 penalty units for a corporation.

52(1)

You must not charge a debtor for the cost of debt collection.

120 penalty units.

53

If you are a prohibited person, you must not purchase debt for the purpose of collection.

240 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment for a person.

1200 penalty units for a corporation.

45(1)

You must not engage in prohibited debt collection practices.

240 penalty units for a person.

1200 penalty units for a corporation.

46(1)

Additional remedy to those you cause humiliation or distress by engaging in prohibited debt collection practices.

A court or tribunal can order damages of up to $10,000.