Panthera Finance has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay $500,000 for harassing three consumers over debts that they did not owe.
Panthera misled one of these consumers, telling them they needed to pay Panthera $100 to have an incorrect default listing removed from their credit file. The listing should have been removed for free under the Privacy Act.
Panthera is an Australian debt collection company that collects on behalf of other businesses and purchases non-performing debt for significantly less than its face value.
The ACCC has received over 100 complaints about Panthera in the last two years alone.
The Federal Court also ordered Panthera to contribute $100,000 to the ACCC’s legal costs.
“All three consumers were subjected to repeated and intrusive calls from Panthera, and had to take multiple steps to prove they did not owe the alleged debt,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said. “Businesses, particularly in the debt collection industry, are warned that harassing consumers is unacceptable under any circumstances and can result in significant penalties.”
A spokesperson for Panthera said, “We have apologised to the three customers impacted and taken further steps to strengthen compliance and ensure these issues do not happen again.”
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