Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What is Philippine's Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

I have been harassed by credit card debt collectors and suffered a significant amount of humiliation from my family members, neighbors and colleagues because of rude calls and letters from these agents.

These have made me at one point to become a paranoid.

And thus prompt me to make a research about the laws regarding Debt collection and my rights.

My online research led me to the Philippine Senate website.

I have learned that Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago introduced Senate Bill Number 1277 on July 4, 2007, during the 14th Philippine Congress, entitled “An Act Providing For Fair Debt Collection Practices and Requiring Debt Collectors To Observe Such Practices”.

Though it Legislative status is still "Pending in the Committee (9/10/2007)"

I wish that this Bill will be approved soon but anyway, She said in the explanatory note,
 "There is abundant evidence of the widespread use of abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices by many creditors and debt collectors.

Abusive debt collection practices have contributed to a number of unwarranted personal bankruptcies, to marital instability, to loss of jobs, and to invasions of individual privacy.

Existing laws are inadequate to protect borrowers. In fact, the borrowers’ only recourse is Article 287 of the Penal Code.

For the following reasons:

First, means, other than misrepresentation or other abusive debt collection practices are available for the effective collection of debts; second, to ensure that those creditors and debt collectors who refrain from using abusive debt collection practices are not competitively disadvantaged; and third, to provide an adequate legal remedy to consumers against abusive debt collection practices."

I also tried to research what is Article 287 of the Penal Code, and here's what i found,

"Art. 287. Light coercions.

Any person who, by means of violence, shall seize anything belonging to his debtor for the purpose of applying the same to the payment of the debt, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period and a fine equivalent to the value of the thing, but in no case less than 75 pesos. Any other coercions or unjust vexations shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine ranging from 5 pesos to 200 pesos, or both."

Here are my take away from reading and trying to understand the bill

•All debt collectors must fully identify himself or herself and state the institution he or she represents.
•Debt collectors cannot call during times when it is known to be inconvenient, which is initially assumed to be before 8 in the morning and after 9 in the evening,
•They cannot contact the consumer at work if the collector knows that the employer doesn’t approve of such calls.
•Debt collectors may not harass, verbally abuse or use profane language when communicating with the consumer
•They are also prohibited from using false representation or identity, such as that of a lawyer or a police authority, to coerce the consumer into paying his or her debt
•Debt collectors may not solicit payment for fees other than which is legally owed by the consumer.
•They should also honor a written request from the consumer to stop further contact from them.

Please note that I am just a credit card defaulter like some of you and not a lawyer. This are my interpretations of what I've read.

If you any  update regarding the bill, or think I made some misinterpretation please put it in the comments below. Thank you

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