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May 2017

Debtors – What Are Your Rights?

The highest percentage of credit card accounts that come past due occurs in the months after Christmas – 7.6 per cent of Kiwis pay their credit card bills late. By April, these debts could start being referred to debt collectors.

If you owe money to a creditor and stop making payments, they can take action against you to recover their money. Problems occur when disreputable companies play on people’s fears to get their money back – but if it’s harassment you don’t have to accept it. Debt collectors have no legal right to use scare tactics to demand payment.

Debt collection agencies are heavily regulated so if an agency is chasing you for money and you think they are behaving inappropriately – breaching your privacy or harassing you, question it.

By law a debt collector can’t use physical force, coercion, or unreasonably harass your family. They also can’t mislead or deceive you or take advantage of vulnerability such as a disability. A debt collector can’t visit your workplace and tell your boss about your debt without your permission.

Most importantly, if a debt collector breaks the rules, you have the right to complain. If they are claiming unreasonable debt collection fees or misleading you into believing that you are required to pay fees when you are not, you may be able to take them to court for breaching the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act or the Fair Trading Act. Or, you might be able to complain to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner if they have broken the privacy laws.

The bigger professional debt collection agencies are unlikely to behave this way however some low level debt collectors may bank on the debtor’s lack of knowledge about their rights – so make sure you know yours.

Student Loan Debt Being Written Off

The average student loan balance is close to $21,000. Almost 731,800 people have a student loan. In the year to June 2016 40,695 borrowers repaid their loans in full.

Course fees are the main cost – more than 90 per cent of students borrow in order to pay their fees. The second largest driver of costs is the cost of living. Overall, students are leaving university with an average of between $16,600 and $17,220 of debt and the average time it takes a graduate to repay their loan is now a whopping 8.4 years.

Record amounts of student debt are being written off for bankruptcy, with $17.6m wiped from the books in the 2015-16 year alone. According to IRD, more than 100,000 student loans are in default, with about 80 per cent belonging to people living overseas.

$150,221 was repaid after eight arrest warrants were sought to prevent debtors leaving New Zealand. After three court cases, $79,610 was recovered – but only from two borrowers. The third person’s debt was wiped due to hardship. Twelve more cases covering $621,955 of debt collection were still under way, an Inland Revenue spokesman said.

Minister, Judith Collins described the threat of arrest as a “strong deterrent” but the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) president Jonathan Gee says a new repayment model for student loans is needed. Graduates in New Zealand feared taking on extra debt to own cars or houses and Kiwi expats were scared to come back home, he said.

When asked if other methods of debt recovery were being considered, Collins said reduced repayment holidays, information-sharing arrangements with the Australian Taxation Office and arrests of the worst overseas borrowers since 2010, had demonstrated success.

If you have a student loan that is in urgent need of paying off and struggling to find the right job to help support this, you could contact Ryan + Alexander Recruitment Agency. They boast a team of professionals whom can assist in finding the right occupation for your skill set.

Viagra alternatives works better

Last week, the United States equivalent to the Medical Products Agency, FDA, approved a new drug - Addyi (flibanserin 100 mg). The Sprout Pharmaceuticals supplier certainly cried up a bottle and journalists around the world wrote about this little pill. For Addyi is not any pill, it's the long-awaited pink Viagra.

Thus, a medicine that is expected to revolutionize women's most common sex problems (low lust) in the same way as Viagra revolutionized men's most common sex problems (erectile dysfunction) when it came in 1998. And clearly everyone wants to rewrite pink Viagra, everyone wants to rewrite sex, especially when It gets a nice scientific setting.

The subject of Pink Viagra comes up in the media on a regular basis and the conversation follows about the same pattern. In one corner, cheerful insistence that science can finally be close to finding the key to women's sex drive. In others, one and another feminist chronicle concludes that women may not want to lie because they take the main responsibility for the home and the children. The fascinating thing is that in the middle of the conversation about sex and science is the obvious few who actually talk about science.

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