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15/04/2013: Debt partnerships

Debt Partnerships – Working with debt collection agencies to resolve overdue fines

Since March 2012 the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) has been working with a panel of 4 external debt collection agencies to assist with the recovery of overdue fines debt. This is a NSW Government initiative to reduce the amount of money owing for unpaid fines.

The 4 agencies selected are:

  • Australian Receivables Limited
  • Baycorp
  • Dun & Bradstreet
  • National Credit Management Limited.

These agencies have strong experience in working with government agencies, as well as a national presence and demonstrated debt resolution capabilities.

What will the agencies do?

The external debt collection agencies will be attempting to locate and make contact with clients that have overdue fines. Their primary debt recovery actions will include:

  • attempting to locate clients and make contact with them via phone, correspondence , SMS or field (home) visits
  • talking to clients about options to repay the debt in full or establishing a payment arrangement
  • liaising with the dedicated State Debt Recovery Office team to resolve more complex matters, and reviewing the capacity of a client to pay their fines where hardship is identified
  • referring clients who wish to make payments from their Centrelink benefits to the State Debt Recovery Office team who will set up all Centrepay arrangements.

From April 2013 representatives from the Debt Partner agencies may attempt to contact clients in person by attending their residential address. The field agents will talk to clients about their options to resolve their unpaid fines. The agents carry suitable identification and will leave a letter that has a payment slip and phone numbers clients can call if they want more information about how to resolve their debt.

The agencies operate under strict industry guidelines to ensure that their debt recovery actions do not cause undue stress to clients. More information can be found in the Debt Collection Guidelines for Collectors and Creditors on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website.

Will clients be making payments to the collection agency?

No. Agencies are not permitted to receive payments and must not ask clients to pay them directly. All payments should be made to the SDRO using the established payment options. Agency letters will contain a payment slip that has details supplied by the SDRO. Collection agency staff, including field agents, can also assist clients to make credit card payments directly to the SDRO.

Have the debts been 'sold' to the agencies?

No. Fines debt will not be 'sold' to the agencies. The agencies will operate in a partnership arrangement with the SDRO to increase our current capacity to locate and contact clients and resolve outstanding fines debt.

What if I have concerns about the agency that contacted me?

If you have any concerns about your contact from an external debt collection agency you can call the SDRO on 1300 559 288 or fill in our feedback form.

Last updated: 26 October 2015