BUSINESS

Gov’t to rein in practices of debt collection firms

DIMITRA MANIFAVA

Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis

TAGS: Economy, Banking

The Development Ministry is planning to crack down on debt collection companies that instead of simply informing clients of their arrears use harassment tactics against debtors but also against their relatives, often even for sums as small as 20 euros.

Sources say that the new framework being processed in cooperation with the Justice Ministry will include a reduction in the maximum number of calls such firms are allowed to make to each debtor, a ban on disturbing borrowers at their place of work and at night, and will strictly forbid contacting relatives. The bill is expected to be ready at the start of the new year.

Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis had announced in late October that a much stricter framework would be introduced for debt collection companies. He told Parliament at the time that “the bill against debt collection companies harassing citizens is already being prepared. The banks will not do whatever they want in Greece, and that’s final.”

The General Secretariat for Commerce and Consumer Protection imposed fines on four such companies adding up to 46,000 euros in early October after finding that they disturbed debtors before the expiry of the 10-day grace period after their debt became overdue, called some of them at work, gave misleading information and used offensive language during their calls.

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