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What Can Legal Debt Collectors In Singapore Do And Not Do Under The Law?

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Singaporean “ah longs” or an illegal debt collector in Singapore are notorious for their underhanded methods in extracting a borrower’s missed payments. Fortunately, the Ministry of Law’s efforts has made it possible to trust Singaporean legal debt collector groups and companies.

However, despite the legality of some debt collectors in Singapore, specific actions they commit are bordering on harassment. To know if you can take action against the actions of any debt collector Singapore, take note of the following.

Legal Conduct By Debt Collectors

The Ministry of Law requires all debt collectors and other debt collection agencies to follow a strict code of conduct. Any report of deviation can result in their suspension or immediate termination of their business with the possibility of an industry ban.

All debt collection agencies in the country must follow all requirements and laws that bind any Singaporean debt collector.

  • Talk To Family and Friends

Conversing with your family, friends, and colleagues is a standard operating procedure for most Singapore debt collection processes. Most often, debt collection agencies follow this routine to learn more about your whereabouts, especially when they cannot reach you through any form of communication.

However, a debt collection agency cannot ask any third party to pay money and resolve the debt on your behalf. Unless one of your family members are a co-payer of your loan, the debt collection agency cannot ask someone else to pay for your financing.

  • Mediate and Negotiate Repayment Plans

One of the most necessary tasks your Singapore debt collector can do by law is to communicate, resolve issues, and negotiate your payment plans. However, they will ask a third-party agency to help you with your debt.

In most cases, these third-party agencies will negotiate with your lenders and help you create an instalment plan that you can pay at a regular maximum of 10 years. However, borrowers have no guarantee they can pay all the money they owe with more than one payment — especially if the debt collectors find the borrower’s case involves a challenging debt amount.


Unreasonable or Illegal Conduct of Debt Collectors

Borrowers have protection against debt collectors thanks to Singapore’s protection laws. If they do just one illegal or violent action against you or anyone connected with you, you can call the police and other authorities.

Debt collectors have no right to vilify borrowers or act in contempt to extract money the latter owes to them. Here is a list of actions that debt collectors cannot enact against their borrowers despite the massive amount of unpaid debt they possess.

  • Physical Harassment

Debt collectors who inflict physical damage — even a minor scratch at any part of a borrower’s body — have exhibited conduct that is undesirable for the Ministry of Law. By Singapore’s laws, it is an act of unwarranted contempt and possible physical assault.

All debt collectors can inform you about your debt verbally through the phone, and in writing through your appointed email and contact details. They can choose to inform you about your debt in person, but it is an impractical practice for most collectors.

  • Intimidation, Threats, and Verbal/Psychological Harassment

Singapore’s Ah Longs, working together with illicit debt collectors, often use intimidation tactics to scare borrowers into paying money they owe. They can approach them in public and verbally inform them of their long-standing loan.

In some cases, illicit debt collectors can send written notes telling them of undesirable consequences if they fail to pay their financing. Any form of intimidation, threat, and verbal or psychological harassment give borrowers the right to call the police for protection and legal action.

  • Vandalism of Borrower’s Property

Singapore borrowers have all their rights reserved against unscrupulous collection agencies who will visually tarnish or damage any aspect of their property. In the past, illicit Ah Longs working with illegal debt collectors resorted to property harassment, such as broken stalls or graffiti-marked doors or shutters.

Vandalism is a crime in Singapore, and law enforcement will immediately capture and put in detention any individual caught performing them. Furthermore, you can contact the police if any part of your property receives damage from unscrupulous individuals.

  • Stalking

Any Singaporean will feel unsafe when it involves someone following them without their consent. In the past, illicit debt collectors have resorted to this illegal activity of following and investigating borrowers who have failed to pay their loan on time. In the country, an individual’s privacy is essential, and invading someone’s privacy is against the law.

If you spot individuals following you when you failed to repay your lender, report them to local authorities as soon as possible. Furthermore, have law enforcement investigate your lender for any involvement regarding your stalkers.

  • Group Harassment

Unlawful assembly isn’t limited to protesting on the streets without a permit. It’s also the illicit organization of a group with a single violent motive. Loan sharks have used illegal debt collectors who resort to humiliation, physical, and verbal violence while cornering a borrower with their vast numbers.

Anyone who has undergone this form of harassment from a group of individuals can file a formal case. Additionally, they can negotiate with their lenders. If their lender fails to comply, the Ministry of Law will deem them illicit lenders, which allows the government to issue criminal charges against them. Getting harassed by a loan shark? Check out how to deal with loan shark harassment for more tips.

Frustrated Girl on Phone

Steps Debtors Can Take When Dealing With Illegal Debt Collector Conduct

If you or anyone you know has been mistreated by debt collectors through any situation we listed above, you can do a few things to stop it from happening repeatedly.

  • Call Law Enforcement

The local police have a dedicated hotline for any form of violent or verbal harassment. Dial 999 on the phone to call law enforcement and allow them to investigate the matter thoroughly.

In doing so, law enforcement might decide to negotiate the matter properly or allow the state’s lawful intervention against the collector’s actions, especially if they’re of the illegal type.

  • Protection Order Against Unscrupulous Lenders

For minor counts of harassment, illegal lenders will have to register their business, which ensures they comply with the Ministry of Law’s rules and requirements for lenders. Significant criminal charges will force collection agencies and lenders to shut down their operations.

With or without evidence of major or minor harassment, Singaporeans can file a protection order against erring or harassing collectors. This guarantees that they cannot physically approach and verbally or digitally communicate with the borrower except through a lawyer or government arbitration.

  • File a Formal Complaint to the Credit Collection Association of Singapore (CCAS)

Legitimate collectors follow a strict code of conduct that the CCAS oversees and implements with all its members. If one of their members fail to follow these requirements or achieve the high standards they impose, they’re liable for license review and possible suspension or termination.

You can file a complaint against any collector. Ensure you have proof of conversations and events that happened through any form of written and recorded interactions and contracts. In doing so, the CCAS can help you resolve problems with your collector fairly.

Avoid All These Hassles By Borrowing Money From Legal Moneylenders

Legitimate moneylenders apply for a license to lend money from the Ministry of Law. You can find all of them in the Registry of Moneylenders, which the MoL overseas as well.

If you’re looking for excellent moneylenders to work with, you can use Loan Advisor. It is a finance directory comparison website that helps you compare hundreds of moneylenders you can depend on in the country. Visit our listings today!

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