Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - Posted by Michael McCulloch
In a most recent article on our blog we revealed that the ACCC had commenced Court action against ACM Group
We can now reveal that in the case of the resident in a care facility that the debt for $5,768.53 was purchased from Telstra by ACM.
It has been alleged:
- The customer was contacted by phone on more than 40 occasions to demand payment;
- 20 demand letters were sent to the customer between April 2011 and June 2015;
- It was communicated to ACM that the customer could not care for himself;
- The customer was in receipt of a Government pension; and
- He was unable to service debt.
While ACM did take steps to make reference this in their customer log the debt was subsequently returned to a debt recovery campaign.
ACM has recently released a statement regarding the allegations on 02/06:
"ACM Group Ltd has today been notified that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced civil proceedings against it in the Federal Court of Australia alleging breaches of the Australian Consumer Law in the recovery of two small Telecommunication debts.
The allegations made by the ACCC regarding the two accounts, are not representative of our hundreds of employees nor of our over 165,000 customers.
Further, the two matters do not reflect the incremental change management processes ACM has embarked on. By mid-2015, ACM had implemented numerous processes to ensure compliance and improve customer interaction. Also in 2015, to assist in positive outcomes for our customers, ACM worked with a consumer advocate to rewrite all staff training material and customer correspondence.
ACM is mindful that these matters are now before the Federal Court, and as such, it is inappropriate to make further comment".
While the statement by ACM regarding "incremental change management processes" is certainly a positive sign for future cases one would question as to why this activity existed in the first place especially with the ASIC / ACCC Debt Collection Guidelines originally being published in 2005 and subsequently updated to reflect significant changes to the law.
Unfortunately for those in the industry, that are compliant, the negative stigma attached to the industry continues with stories like this and will no doubt, in the future, require the industry to be more heavily regulated.