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Change Ahead for NSW Debt Collection Industry Licensing (Update)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - Posted by Michael McCulloch

In our September 2016 edition we posted a lengthy article about the proposed changes for the debt collection industry in New South Wales.

Despite the bill only being introduced in September 2016 we saw in October 2016 many members of the NSW Government changing it's position on the regulatory regimes. The Bill has been amended to provide for positive and negative licensing.

Key points of the amendments are:

  • Positive licensing system to be retained for field agents.
  • Negative licensing for those involved in telephone collections
  • Licensing administration will move from NSW Police to NSW Fair Trading.
  • The licensing system for commercial agents has been streamlined and simplified.
  • A person, for the purpose of carrying out a commercial agent activity (field call, repossession, process serving, etc) and who approaches or attempts to approach the person who is subject of that activity or enters or attempts to enter their residence or place of employment, must hold a commercial agent's licence.
  • Licencing will be mandatory for the employer of the field agent and the field agent themselves.
  • Licences may be issued for a 1 or 3 year term.
  • A person will be able to obtain a commercial licence if they are:
    18 years of age or older
    Not a disqualified person
    Determined by Fair Trading to be a fit and proper person to hold such a licence
  • A person or corporation will be disqualified from holding a licence if they:
    Are under the age of 18
    Are an undischarged bankrupt or taking advantage of the laws relating to bankruptcy
    Are a corporation who is subject to a winding-up Order where a Controller or Administrator has been appointed
    Has been convicted, in the previous 5 years, of any offence involving firearms, weapons, fraud, drugs, -   dishonesty, harassment or coercion or violence, and a fine of $500 or more or imprisonment were imposed
    Are subject to an Exclusion Order
    Are a member of a declared organisation within the meaning of the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2012.

As yet there is no indication of a start date for the amended regulatory regimes however at this point in time we believe that this will be at some stage in 2017 when the appropriate regulations have been drafted and passed by State Parliament.

As promised in our last article we will continue to monitor this situation and provide a further update via this blog.

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