Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Have you any bad experience with credit card collectors? They are surely rough persons because their services are merely outsourced. This pending bill by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago should be given importance. A lot of suicides and family issues arose from these malpractices made by collecting arms of banks and lending investors.

If you’re interested in reading this Senate Bill 1277 of the 14th Congress, it is available for download as a PDF file on the Senate website. I read the bill and from my understanding, here are some of the important things cited:
• A debt collector must fully identify himself and state his employer.
• If the person being talked to is other than the consumer or debtor, no information as to the latter’s indebtedness should be discussed.
• Debt collectors cannot call during times when it is known to be inconvenient, which is initially assumed to be before 8 in the morning and after 9 in the evening,
• They cannot contact the consumer at work if the collector knows that the employer doesn’t approve of such calls.
• Debt collectors may not harass, verbally abuse or use profane language when communicating with the consumer.
• They are also prohibited from using false representation or identity, such as that of a lawyer or a police authority, to coerce the consumer into paying his or her debt
• Debt collectors may not solicit payment for fees other than which is legally owed by the consumer.
• They should also honor a written request from the consumer to stop further contact from them.
• The debt collector should also discuss the remedies available to the consumer to settle his liabilities.

I believe this bill is very important considering the financial hardship that Filipinos are enduring now. Unfortunately, this bill is still pending with the Legislative Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies.
Today, the only existing law is Article 287 of the Penal Code as cited below:
Art. 287. Light coercions. Any person who, by means of violence, shall seize anything belonging to his debtor for the purpose of applying the same to the payment of the debt, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period and a fine equivalent to the value of the thing, but in no case less than 75 pesos. Any other coercions or unjust vexations shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine ranging from 5 pesos to 200 pesos, or both.
This could be the reason why credit collectors are free to do what they want to meet their collection goal. In fact, when you decide to pay to avoid their harassment, they will dictate what bank you have to go or else an irate caller will pester you.