Debt collectors

You might be experiencing harassment from people you owe money to (sometimes called creditors) or debt collectors. A debt collector is employed by a creditor or a debt collection agency to recover overdue debts. Creditors can even 'sell' debts to debt collectors so that the debt collector becomes the creditor. 

If you have not responded to previous attempts to contact you, or not kept to an agreed repayment plan, a debt collector can contact you to find out why.

Debt collectors can contact you by phone, letter, email, social media or by visiting you in person. It is useful to know your rights in relation to debt collectors. You do not have to accept harassment from creditors or debt collectors.

This page has information about how the law protects you in relation to debt collection, when you can make a compliant about debt collection, and where you can make a complaint.


What protection does the law give me in relation to debt collection?

Debt collectors must obey the law when recovering debts.

This means they must not:

  • use physical force or coercion towards you, or a third party such as your family or friends 
  • harass you to an unreasonable extent (for example, phone calls day and night at work and home)
  • mislead or deceive you, or try to do so (for example, sending letters that look like court documents; saying that unpaid debts are a criminal offence involving the police or possibly jail)
  • take unfair advantage of any vulnerability, disability or other similar circumstance affecting you (this is an example of unconscionable behaviour).

There are also restrictions on the times debt collectors can contact you.

You do not have to let a debt collector into your home. If you do agree to let them in, they must leave if you ask them to. Visits to your home or workplace should only be made if there is no other way for the debt collector to contact you or if you have asked for or agreed to a visit.

When can I make a complaint about debt collectors?

You have the right to make a complaint if you are being:

  • harassed
  • intimidated, or
  • taken advantage of,

by a debt collector.

You can report an assault or threats of violence to the police.

Where to complain about debt collectors

If you think a debt collector has disobeyed the law (for example, by harassing you), write down what happened, the dates and times it took place, and the names of the people involved.

Make your complaint clear to the debt collector. Explain that this contact is not acceptable and that any more communication must be in writing. If possible, make your complaint in writing. Follow this up with a letter or email to the person in the debt collection agency who is in charge of complaints, if there is one. Keep a copy of the letter or email for your records.

If this does not resolve the matter, you can make a complaint about a debt collector's behaviour to an external body, such as:

More information

  • The Financial Rights Legal Service has information and a fact sheet on dealing with debt collectors. Their website also generates a letter to help you make a complaint.


Reviewed: 17 April 2024


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.