Debt collection options

When an individual or business owes you money, you can:

  • use a debt collector
  • engage in mediation
  • make a minor debt claim
  • take steps to collect an outstanding debt in the event of a debtor bankruptcy.

These options should be considered when all other efforts to chase a debtor have failed.

Using a debt collector

Debtors are often moved to pay at the prospect of having their credit rating downgraded.

Engaging a debt collector to contact a customer about an outstanding payment can put an end to payment delays.

All debt collectors in Queensland must be licensed. They are also bound by a code of conduct that sets down standards, provides a complaint resolution system and ensures consumers do not feel unduly harassed by the debt collector.

By law, a debt collector cannot threaten to have the debtor sent to jail, as a person cannot be jailed for an unpaid civil debt in Queensland.

Mediation

Consider using mediation as an alternative to having a magistrate settle minor debt claims. Mediation can save you time and settle the matter in a way that suits both you and your debtor. If a solution is not reached, the magistrate will make the final decision.

Minor debt claims

If someone owes you $25,000 or less and will not pay, you can make a claim through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Bankruptcy

If someone who owes you money is declared bankrupt, they are usually freed from debts they cannot pay.

As a creditor, you can make a claim called a provable debt. This entitles you to share in the distribution of debtor funds and vote at meetings related to the bankruptcy.

The Australian Financial Security Authority is a government agency that provides information for both debtors and creditors affected by bankruptcy.

If you are not able to recover the debt, consider writing off the bad debt in your tax return. Seek advice from your business adviser.

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