NEWS

Debt collectors to be reined in

Greece?s privacy watchdog is attempting to rein in debt collection agencies employed by banks, which over the last few years had developed a reputation for being aggressive and intrusive, by restricting their activities.

Under new rules issued by the Hellenic Data Protection Authority (APPD), the companies will have to wait 10 days from when a borrower has defaulted on a loan before contacting him or her.

The firms, which usually make their demands by phone, will only be able to call between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays and will not be allowed to contact the bank client more than once every two days.

Debt collectors will only be able to contact borrowers at work if the customer has provided that phone number to the bank. Agencies will not be permitted to contact borrowers if they are the subject of court proceedings.

Companies will also be required to provide copies of recorded telephone requests to customers to the General Secretariat for Consumers within 10 days of such a request.