In the Philippines, debt collection can be a stressful and intimidating experience. However, it's important to know that you have rights as a debtor, and you don't have to tolerate abusive or illegal collection practices. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have implemented regulations to protect consumers from unfair debt collection practices.
Here's a breakdown of key prohibitions that debt collectors must abide by:
Harassment and Threats Are Off-Limits:
- No abusive language or intimidation: Collectors cannot use insults, threats, or yell at you to pressure you into payment. They must communicate in a respectful and professional manner.
- No excessive calls or unreasonable contact: Collectors cannot bombard you with calls, especially at inconvenient hours (before 6am or after 10pm). They also cannot contact you at work if you've explicitly asked them not to.
- No threats of violence or harm: Any form of physical or legal threats is strictly illegal and should be reported immediately.
Misrepresentation and False Claims Are Illegal:
- No false identities or exaggerated consequences: Collectors cannot impersonate law enforcement or government officials to intimidate you. They also cannot exaggerate the legal consequences of non-payment.
- No lies about the debt: Providing false information about the amount owed or the terms of the debt is illegal and punishable.
Privacy and Confidentiality:
- No third-party disclosures: Collectors cannot discuss your debt with anyone besides you, your spouse, or your legal representative, unless you have granted written consent. Online lenders barred from harvesting borrowers’ phone and social-media contact list. [https://bongpico.com/national-privacy-commission-ban-online-lenders-harvesting-contact-lists/]
- No public shaming: Publishing your name or personal information related to your debt is strictly prohibited.
- Respecting your right to cease communication: You have the right to request in writing that collectors stop all communication with you. Once you make this request, they must comply. Direct Recovery - Debt Collection in the Philippines: https://www.directrecovery.com/blog/debt-collection-philippines/
- No exploitation of vulnerabilities: Collectors cannot take advantage of your age, illness, disability, or other personal circumstances to pressure you into payment.
Here are key points to remember about debt collection in the Philippines:
- Debt collectors have limits: They cannot harass, threaten, or mislead you. This includes using abusive language, calling excessively, or making false claims about the debt [https://www.creditinfo.gov.ph/philstar-sec-issues-memorandum-unfair-debt-collection-practices].
- You have privacy rights: Collectors cannot disclose your debt to third parties or publicly shame you [ https://www.creditinfo.gov.ph/philstar-sec-issues-memorandum-unfair-debt-collection-practices].
- You can stop communication: You have the right to request in writing that collectors cease all contact [ https://www.creditinfo.gov.ph/philstar-sec-issues-memorandum-unfair-debt-collection-practices].
- Report unfair practices: If you experience illegal collection tactics, report them to the SEC or BSP [https://www.creditinfo.gov.ph/philstar-sec-issues-memorandum-unfair-debt-collection-practices].
- Know your resources: Seek guidance from the BSP, SEC, or NCAC for more information and assistance [https://www.bsp.gov.ph/Inclusive%20Finance/Modules/Module%206%20Consumer%20Protection.pdf].
Stay informed and protect yourself.
Know Your Resources and Take Action:
If you encounter any of these prohibited practices, you have the right to file complaints with the BSP or SEC. You can also seek legal advice to protect yourself and hold unethical collectors accountable.
Remember, you are not alone. Empower yourself with knowledge of your rights and take action against those who engage in unfair debt collection practices.
Contact Numbers to know
To File a Formal Complaint Against a Lending or Financing Company
To verify Lending Companies, Financing Companies and Online Lending Platforms
For a list of registered lending and financing companies, use these links:
a. Registered Lending Companies: https://www.sec.gov.ph/lending-companies-and-financing-companies-2/list-of-lending-companies-2/
b. Registered Financing Companies: http://www.sec.gov.ph/lending-companies-and-financing-companies/list-of-financing-companies/
For a list of recorded online lending platforms of lending and financing companies, please refer to this link: https://www.sec.gov.ph/lending-companies-and-financing-companies-2/list-of-recorded-online-lending-platforms/
3. For more information on Lending and Financing Companies
For more information on lending and financing companies, kindly follow this link: https://www.sec.gov.ph/lending-companies-and-financing-companies-2/lending-companies-and-financing-companies/.
4. You may also file a complaint to other Government agencies through the following email addresses
National Privacy Commission- [email protected]
Department of Justice Office of Cybercrime- [email protected]
National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division- http://nbi.gov.ph/