I am in Debt, Is it legal for Collecting Agents to Harass Me?
Financial Companies and Lending companies in the Philippines usually submit the debtor’s information to collecting agents for collection. Some collecting agents, however, harass debtors into paying their debts.
Some stories of collectors include the following common complaints: Ms. A used to get at least 10 calls daily including calls at midnight. Mr. B received text messages informing him that his name has been reported to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and he will be arrested anytime. Mr. X received threatening calls and texts informing him that he and his family will be in danger if he will not pay his debt. All these harassment caused anxiety to these people. The question is, is it legal for collector agents to commit the said acts?
It is NOT legal for Collecting Agents to Harass You. Find out why –
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) prohibited financial institutions and their agents from harassing debtors.
Section 7 of BSP Circular 454 enumerated the prohibited acts of financial institutions, to wit:
SEC Memo Circular 18 prohibited lending companies and financial institutions from committing unfair collection practices as stated in Section 7 of BSP circular 454. Companies that commit such practices may suffer the following penalties:
What Can I Do If I Am Being Harassed by Collecting Agents?
First, make sure to keep all communications with your debt collector such as, but not limited to, letters, text messages and e-mails. If possible and with the collector’s consent, record your personal and phone conversations.
Second, you may visit the Financial Consumer Protection Department of the BSP and/or report the matter to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Note: It is advisable that you visit a lawyer for consultation before reporting the matter so that they could provide you with specific legal advise. Situations involving financial institutions vary from one person to another and different situations require different approaches.