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The economic crisis has seen a surge in debt collectors chasing people who owe money, as regulators try to curb cases of bullying and harassment.
Hundreds of Australians in debt still face verbal abuse, harassing phone calls or letters threatening legal action from debt collectors each year.
An Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) spokeswoman told ninemsn there has been a push towards stricter compliance for debt acquisition agencies, prompted by the economic downturn as well as increased outsourcing by businesses wanting to recoup unpaid debts.
Industry representatives insist bullying and intimidation are not common.
But regulators still receive frequent complaints from people pursued over money they don't believe they owe, or debts they've not heard about for many years, or when unpaid bills seem to double with so-called administration fees.
"If you can't afford to pay your debts," one mother was told recently, according to Anglicare financial counsellor Sandie Groves, "how can you afford to adequately feed and clothe your children? "Maybe the Department of Child Protection should look into it."