Who is Panthera Finance
Panthera Finance is an Australian debt collection company who specialises in the collection of purchased debts from other businesses. Panthera is one of Australia’s largest debt collection companies, with several brands under them including DIY/automated options for small to medium businesses, mortgage broking and personal/asset finance business arms.
Why would you have a debt with Panthera Finance?
Panthera Finance is a debt collection company which buys debts off other businesses who are owed money. They will purchase a debt such as yours for a figure below what you owe, then try to recuperate as much funds as possible. So whilst you may not have originally incurred a debt with a debt collector such as Panthera Finance, they have your existing debt from another party assigned to them and you’re legally obliged to now pay the debt to their company. Common companies which will onsell bad debts owed by customers include Telco’s (such as Telstra, Vodafone, Optus etc) and utilities providers (such as Origin, Energy Australia and AGL). Certain debt collection agencies will have specialised contracts with certain institutions to handle all of their debt collection requirements.
If you have been contacted by Panthera Finance regarding a debt which was legitimately accrued through a third party and sold to Panthera, you will need to now speak with and negotiate a payment plan with Panthera. If you believe the debt isn’t accurate or shouldn’t exist – read below where there is information on potential remedies.
What can Panthera Finance do to collect debts
Debt collectors are regulated under Australian consumer laws through the Australian Competition & Consumer Comission and AFCA. These regulations cover what times of communication is allowed, the times debt collectors can call you as well as the frequency of times you can be contacted per month by a debt collector. The key regulations include:
- During weekdays, debt collectors can only contact you via the phone between 7:30am-9pm.
- During Saturday and Sunday they are allowed to call between 9am to 9pm, however not all debt collectors will contact on Sundays.
- Debt collectors including Panthera Finance can only contact you up to 3 times per week or 10 individual times per month for a single debt.
- Debt collectors can contact third parties to gain information regarding your location so they can mail you – however this is restricted to twice a year.
- Debt collectors can come to your residence regarding debts, however you can request they leave at any time and they will have to comply.
Due to less desirable actions by some debt collectors in the past, these and other guidelines have been put in place to curb harassment of individuals.
Why has Panthera been in the news recently?
Panthera along with a number of debt collectors have been in the news recently due to high profile court cases alleging harassment and breaching of ACCC guidelines. Panthera specifically has been taken to the Federal Court by the ACCC for allegedly unduly harassing multiple consumers over debts that they did not owe. The ACCC alleges that Panthera Finance repeatedly contacted the three consumers for the payment of the disputed debts despite being advised that they were not liable for the debts, and in two cases placed an incorrect default listing on the consumers’ credit rating files. It also allegedly imposed onerous requirements on these consumers to “prove” they didn’t owe the debts which Panthera was trying to collect.
In one case in particular, the ACCC alleges that Panthera Finance used coercion, made false representations and engaged in unconscionable conduct when dealing with the consumer, even though it knew the consumer urgently needed an incorrect credit default listing removed to obtain finance for a new car.
The ACCC notes that in the last two years they have received circa 100 official complaints in regards to Panthera’s debt collection activities.
How to deal with Panthera Finance
If you have received a notice or contact from Panthera Finance regarding an outstanding debt you have a number of options to consider.
If the debt is in relation to a specific debt that you’re aware of that is outstanding and it has been sold or now being managed by Panthera Finance, you should make contact to discuss the options. In most cases debt collection agencies will be willing to discuss payment terms to manage your cash flow, or even provide a discount for upfront payment of debt.
If you’ve received a notice for a debt that you should have not received, you can alert Panthera Finance to this. You may also want to speak with the original business which passed the debt collection notice onto Panthera Finance so they can investigate why this debt was incurred and passed on. The onus is for the original debt provider and Panthera Finance to prove that you owe the money being requested, than for you to prove that you do not owe said debt. There have been many cases of incorrect debts being assigned due to clerical errors, failed procedures or even fraud – so finding out how this debt came into existence is incredibly important. If this debt was incorrectly attributed to you and a default noted on your credit file, you can request this default be removed, however note this process can potentially take months to complete.