​Ruthless debt collection firm in the dock for hounding Telstra customers

ACCC takes action against the largest privately owned debt acquisition firm in Australia.

Telstra store in Adelaide

Telstra store in Adelaide

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against debt collection firm ACM Group, following its ruthless pursuit of Telstra customers.

According to the Australian watchdog, ACM Group engaged in “misleading or deceptive conduct, harassment and coercion, and unconscionable conduct” in dealings with two consumers, breaching the Australian Consumer Law in the process.

The alleged conduct occurred between 2011–2015 in relation to one customer, a resident in a care facility, and in September 2014 in relation to the other consumer, a single parent with a limited income.

In each case, the debt being pursued had been sold to ACM Group by Telstra - which is no longer represented by the firm - with the ACCC alleging that the company deceived both customers into thinking they were about to commence legal proceedings against them when this was not the case.

During this first victim’s ordeal, the largest privately owned debt acquisition firm in Australia engaged in “undue harassment” by repeatedly contacting the customer by phone and letter when the debt firm was aware that “he had difficulty communicating, was highly vulnerable and had no capacity to repay the debt”.

Furthermore, the relentless pursuit led to the company engaging in coercion by representing to the second customer that it was going to take legal action or issue a summons and that failing to make an immediate payment to ACM Group would affect their ability to obtain credit for five to seven years.

Consequently, the ACCC also alleged that ACM Group's conduct in dealing with each of these consumers was, in all circumstances, “unconscionable”.

“Conduct affecting vulnerable consumers is an enforcement priority for the ACCC,” ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, said.

“The ACCC has brought these proceedings because the alleged conduct by ACM Group, in seeking to recover debts ACM Group had purchased from Telstra, was in our view contrary to accepted community values and standards of fairness in dealing with consumers, especially those who are vulnerable.

“This action is part of our joint efforts with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to improve debt collection practices.”

Sims said the ACCC has worked with debt collectors and businesses who assign debts, to ensure that collection activity complies with best practice and the law.

“We are now taking enforcement action to reinforce these efforts,” he added.

Sims said the ACCC is seeking pecuniary penalties, declarations, injunctions, orders for an ACL compliance program, publication orders and costs.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Telstra

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
James Henderson
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?