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Interested in entering the industry in Queensland as a:

  • Collector?
  • Investigator?
  • Process Server?
  • Repossession Agent?

Collectors, Process Servers and Repossession Agents

Persons in Queensland working as a collector, process server or repossession agent since December 2014 have been regulated under the Debt Collectors (Field Agents and Collection Agents) Act, 2014 and the Debt Collectors (Field Agents and Collection Agents) Regulation 2014.

Under this regulatory regime, a collection agent does not need a licence or registration to be able to contact a debtor in writing or over the phone to collect debts and request payment of debts. Collection agents typically work in high-volume call centres and do not have face-to-face contact with a debtor.

Although a licence is not required an individual must not work as a collection agent unless meeting all the criteria set out in the Regulations, namely:

  • Not be under 18 years old
  • Not be an insolvent under administration
  • Not have been disqualified from working in the debt collection industry
  • Not currently suspended as a field agent or subagent
  • If convicted in the past 5 years of a serious offence – being anything that is punishable by 3 or more years in prison, including:
    • violent offences (including threats to use violence)
    • fraud and dishonesty
    • drug trafficking
    • extortion
    • arson
    • unlawful stalking
    • an offence of a sexual nature

A corporation must not work as a collection agent if:

  • Any director or executive officer fails the individual requirements (as listed above)
  • It has been disqualified from working in the debt collection industry
  • It is currently suspended as a corporate field agent
  • It has had its licence cancelled

A licence is required under the regulatory regime to work as a field agent to undertake the following activities:

  • find and recover goods (repossession)
  • collect debts face-to-face
  • serve documents (process serving)

To be eligible for a field agent licence, you must be 18 years or over and meet suitability criteria namely:

  • Not be an insolvent under administration
  • Not be currently disqualified from holding a licence or registration certificate
  • Not have been convicted within the past 5 years of a serious offence (as listed earlier above)

The licensing regulator will consider whether an applicant for a field agent licence:

  • Has a criminal history
  • Has been an executive officer of a corporation that has gone insolvent
  • Was the cause of a successful claim fund action
  • Is subject to a court or tribunal order due to involvement as a marketeer
  • Has been previously disqualified from holding a licence or registration certificate
  • Is disqualified from being a company director
  • Is incapable of satisfactorily doing the job of a licensee
  • Is unsuitable because of the applicant’s character or the character of the applicant’s business associates
  • Is allowed to work in Australia.

A corporation carrying on the business of being a field agent must have a valid licence to work as a field agent. The personnel of a corporation must have individual licences if they are:

  • Directors of the company and carry out the work of a field agent (a director does not need a licence if they don't act as a field agent.)
  • The officer in charge of regulated business.

To be eligible for a licence, a corporation must have an individual licensee in charge of the regulated business. An applicant will not be a suitable company if:

  • Currently disqualified from holding a licence
  • Having been convicted of a serious offence (as listed earlier above) within the past 5 years
  • Having an unsuitable director or executive officer.

An applicant will not be a suitable company if any director or executive officer:

  • Is insolvent under administration
  • Has been convicted of a serious offence within the past 5 years

The licensing regulator will consider whether any director or executive officer of an applicant corporation:

  • Has a criminal history
  • Has been an executive officer of a corporation, which was previously licensed, that has gone insolvent
  • Was the subject of a successful claim fund action
  • Has been cancelled or suspended from holding a licence or registration certificate
  • Has been previously disqualified from holding a licence or registration certificate
  • Is disqualified from being a company director
  • Have previously been an insolvent under administration
  • Is unsuitable because of their character or the character of their business associates
  • Is not allowed to work in Australia

An individual may apply for registration as a subagent to work for a field agent and will be required to meet similar eligibility and suitability criteria to that detailed above for applicants to be a field agent.

Under the Act, there is no requirement that applicants for a licence or registration have any experience nor required to meet any minimum educational requirements. Licence and registration applications are available from the Queensland Office of Fair Trading.

 

Investigators

Investigators in Queensland are licensed pursuant to Security Providers Act 1993. A private investigator can be hired to:

  • find out private information about a person without their permission
  • carry out surveillance to gather information about that person
  • investigate the case of a missing person

To become licensed, an individual applicant must:

  • meet the eligibility criteria
  • complete training and attach proof of qualifications
  • fill out and lodge an application form

To be eligible for a licence, an individual applicant must:

  • be 18 years or older
  • not pose a risk to public safety
  • pass the required training course

An applicant will not be eligible for a licence if the individual has been convicted of a disqualifying offence in the past 10 years, where a conviction was recorded. An applicant must also inform the licensing regulator if found guilty of a disqualifying offence in the preceding 5 years, where a conviction was not recorded.

Note a licence as a private investigator under the legislation can only be issued to an individual not to a company or business name.

It should be noted those actually in the business of supplying private investigators are required under the Security Providers Act 1993 to be licensed as a "security firm":

"8 What is a security firm"

A security firm is a person who, or partnership that, engages in the business of supplying, for reward, security firm services to other persons.

Licences for security firms can be issued to individuals, partnerships and corporations using this application form.

The Act requires a security firm to have a nominee who is responsible for the conduct of the business of a security firm and is required to complete and sign all documents required under the Act or Regulations. The nominee is also responsible for ensuring that the security firm complies with the Act.

Where the applicant is an individual, the applicant is considered to be the nominee. The Regulations require that where an application for a security firm is made by a partnership, one of the partners must be appointed as the nominee. Where the applicant is a corporation, an officer of the corporation must be appointed as the nominee.

The Act also requires security firms to be a member of an Approved Security Industry Association - the Institute of Mercantile Agents is an Approved Security Industry Association pursuant to the ACT.

For more information visit the Queensland Office of Fair Trading website.

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