Business

Firm found to have harassed debtors using misleading conduct

ONE of Australia's largest debt collection firms ACM Group Limited was found by the Federal Court to have harassed debtors, using "widespread and systemic" misleading conduct to recover money.

It is a victory for corporate watchdog ASIC which took the firm to court over its dealings with eight debtors.

In a statement from ASIC on Friday, the regulator said it presented 96 phone calls to the court, mostly between ACM debt collectors and the debtors.

It included the ACM debt collector training manual that was in use at the relevant time as evidence of ACM's conduct.

The court found "the manual made it very plain that debtors should be threatened with litigation".

ACM Group was understood to have leveled a number of threats, including threatening to tell a debtor's husband about what they owed, telephone neighbours or friends, issue warrants for arrest or take action to stop a debtor from leaving the country.

The court described the tone of one of ACM's supervisors as "rude, condescending and vicious, no description of this call (and some of her later efforts) can adequately capture the offensiveness involved".

ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell said ASIC was committed to ensuring debt collectors operated professionally and efficiently, and consumers who found themselves in a difficult position financially could be confident they would be dealt with fairly and lawfully.

"ASIC will not tolerate behaviour designed to intimidate and mislead debtors. This includes cases where the debtor's family, friends and associates are also threatened with unreasonable behaviour," Mr Kell said.

The court concluded that declarations of misconduct and injunctive relief, restraining ACM from future similar conduct, be granted.

Topics:  asic, debt collector, federal court



Hare Krishna founder still celebrating life

Makunda Goswami is one of the original devotees of the Hare Krishna movement.

Meet the man who took the movement around the world

Organisers postpone new country music festival

Australian music megastar Kasey Chambers will be playing at the Sawtell RSL on Friday.

Mur'bah's Country Roots Festival cancelled

Council's $200k woes: what cops are doing about it

NSW police at coffs harbour boat ramp, arrest , gun, shots, handcuffs

Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate

Thieves consider Tweed Council to be a "soft target"

Latest deals and offers

Vintaea: Why I left The Bachelor on the first night

Vintaea Carlos was one of 22 "bachelorettes" looking for love on the fourth season of The Bachelor.

Queensland beauty leaves Richie at rose ceremony.

Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp is stalling divorce

Amber Heard claims Johnny Depp is delaying their divorce

Organisers postpone new country music festival

Australian music megastar Kasey Chambers will be playing at the Sawtell RSL on Friday.

Mur'bah's Country Roots Festival cancelled

The Bachelor host: this year's season is a cracker

The Bachelor host Osher Gunsberg.

GUNSBERG says tonight will be "the best night of TV of the year".

McClymonts hit the road to mark special milestone

The McClymonts will play Twin Towns in August as part of their 10-date, 10-year celebration tour.

A decade of gold for Grafton sisters.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started