First debt collection law now announced in Royal Gazette

Thailand's first debt-collection law has now been published in the Royal Gazette and will take effect within 180 days after its publication on March 6.

Highlight of the law is that violation of the law is subject to either a 3-5 years imprisonment, and a 300,000-500,000 baht fine, or both.

The main reasons for the promulgation of the law are based on the abundant evidence of the use of abusive, deceptive, and unfair collection practises by many debt collectors that are inappropriate, infringing on human rights and serious physical threats to debtors.

The law defines debt collector as creditor who lends money to debtor while debtor is defined as an individual and debt guarantor.

The law prohibits collector from using abusive, libellous words or from threatening to disclose name of debtor publicly via postcards, and open messages to collect debts.

It also prohibits creditor to collect debts through deceptive method such as claiming to be order of  court, state officials or lawyers, or threatening to impound debtor’s assets or salaries.

It also prohibits imposing unfair fees or expenses over official limit, or convincing debtor to pay cheque in spite that debtor is in no position to pay off debts.