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Consumer rights & money

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Guarantors

Debt recovery by a debt collection agency

What action will a debt collection agency take against me?

A debt collection agency will first send or give you a notice. The notice will ask for the debt to be paid and tell you that if it isn’t paid, you’ll get a bad credit rating and will be taken to court to have the debt enforced.

Debt collectors must not mislead or deceive you by stating that you will definitely be responsible for court costs and legal fees if the matter is taken to court. Whether you’ll have to pay those costs and fees will be up to the court to decide.

Can a debt collection agency charge collection fees?

A debt collection agency can charge fees over and above what you owe, but only if you were told about those fees at the time that you bought the hire-purchase goods or got the loan. The fees must be reasonable.

If you’re not happy about the fees you’ve been charged, you can ask the debt collector to explain them. You can also compare them to what other debt collection agencies charge. If you think the fees aren’t reasonable, you can apply to the Disputes Tribunal and ask it to reduce the fees (see the chapter “The Disputes Tribunal”).

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Credit and debt

Where to go for more support

Community Law

www.communitylaw.org.nz

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Consumer Protection

www.consumerprotection.govt.nz

Consumer Protection helpline: 0508 426 678 (0508 4 CONSUMER)

Email: cpinfo@mbie.govt.nz

The Consumer Protection website has useful information on a range of consumer topics. Consumer Protection is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

MoneyTalks

www.moneytalks.co.nz

Phone: 0800 345 123

Email: help@moneytalks.co.nz

MoneyTalks provides free, confidential budgeting support. They can pair you with a financial mentor to help you if you are struggling with debt or need advice on budgeting.

FinCap

www.fincap.org.nz

Phone: 0800 345 123

Email: kiaora@fincap.org.nz

FinCap can help you with budgeting information online or on the phone. They may also suggest a local budgeting service to help you with debt and other budgeting issues.

Consumer NZ

www.consumer.org.nz

Phone: 0800 266 786

Email: info@consumer.org.nz

The Consumer NZ website provides a wide range of information on consumer credit and debt issues, including debt collectors, repossession and bankruptcy

Commerce Commission

www.comcom.govt.nz

Phone: 0800 943 600
Email: contact@comcom.govt.nz
The Commerce Commission enforces the consumer credit legislation (the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act) and the laws against misleading and deceptive conduct by traders (the Fair Trading Act). The Commission provides information on these areas on its website.

It’s All Good

www.comcom.govt.nz/business/resources-for-consumer-organisations/its-all-good

It’s All Good is an animated series produced by The Commerce Commission about consumer rights.

Citizens Advice

www.cab.org.nz

Phone: 0800 FOR CAB (0800 367 222)
Citizens Advice Bureaux have volunteers trained in consumer law who can provide information and advice if you have a problem with credit and debt issues.

Dispute resolution schemes

There are four dispute resolution schemes for consumers dealing with lenders and other credit providers.

  • Financial Services Complaints Limited – www.fscl.org.nz
    Phone:
    0800 347 257
  • Email: info@fscl.org.nz
  • Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman –
    Phone: 0800 888 202
  • Email: info@ifso.nz
  • Banking Ombudsman – www.bankomb.org.nz
    Phone:
    0800 805 950
  • Email: help@bankomb.org.nz
  • Financial Dispute Resolution – www.fdrs.org.nz Phone: 0508 337 337
  • Email: enquiries@fdrs.org.nz

Cases in the District Courts

The Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice website has information about civil claims in the District Courts: see www.justice.govt.nz and search “Claims you can take to civil court”.

Credit reporting

Privacy Commission

www.privacy.org.nz
Phone:
0800 803 909

The Privacy Commission has information on your rights in relation to credit reporting and how to complain if you feel your rights have been breached.

Your credit record

Three credit reporting companies operate nationally in New Zealand. To check your record or correct any information, you’ll need to contact them all.

You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit record. You should make sure you choose the free option when you contact each company.

Centrix – www.centrix.co.nz 0800 236 874

Illion – www.illion.co.nz 0800 733 707

Equifax – www.equifax.co.nz 0800 698 332

Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR)

www.ppsr.companiesoffice.govt.nz

Search the PPSR register to see if there is any security interest registered against a vehicle. This can be done for a small fee by registering to check online.

Bankruptcy and other options

Insolvency and Trustee Service

www.insolvency.govt.nz

Phone: 0508 INSOLVENCY (0508 467 658)

The Insolvency and Trustee Service (ITS) deals with bankruptcies, no-asset procedures, summary instalment orders and some company liquidations. Information about those processes is available on its website. The ITS is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Also available as a book

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