Home' The Channel Magazine : August 2009 Contents 50 National Newsagent August 2009
Q. What do you think the average
person thinks of debt collectors?
A. Overall, a necessary evil. But if you
said to me at a function, ‘Oh, what do
you do?’ and I said I was a debt collector
you’d probably come back with something
like ‘Ah, I don’t owe any money’. 95%
of people refer to not owing money or
knowing someone who had to use services
of a debt collector. However, if I moved
in other circles where a lot of people in a
certain community owe money and the
same question was asked… as soon as I
said ‘debt collector’ everyone might quietly
move away deciding not to talk. That’s
happened to me before — I was on the
Gold Coast as I recall.
Q. Are unpaid bills mounting during
the current economic times?
A. Yes! In the past 12 months we have
doubled the number of referrals.
Q. What’s the main reason people
end up not being able to pay?
A. Most businesses and individuals
inadvertently get themselves into
circumstances they didn’t plan on, where
they end up not being able to pay. A very
small percentage of people go out of their
way to dud people.
Q. What’s your favourite
A. I love sport. I like to go to the League
and the Union and I’m a member of the
Qld Rugby Club and a member of the Qld
Cricket Trust. If I can’t get to a game I
can see it all in my new home theatre set
up. Apart from sport, I’m a bit of a home
handyman. We live in an old Queenslander
so there’s always something to fix or
make. I have all the tools — and will
probably never use most of them.
Q. What’s the main reason for
newsagents using your services?
A. That can be anything from a resident
on a monthly account who hasn’t paid his
bill for papers that have been delivered
through to more business related
defaulters. After being introduced to the
ANF and the great support they provide
for newsagencies in 2006, I saw a need
to design a simple and cost effective cash
flow collection system for Small Business.
I developed a user friendly and internet
based DIY Cash Flow debt collection
credit management system. Through the
support of the ANF I have been able to
help many newsagents to use this system.
It includes a full range of collection letters
from friendly reminders to a notice to sue.
Q. Generally speaking, how would
you describe the average newsagent?
A. A small business operator who in many
cases gets into a newsagency after many
years in another profession and generally
not in retail. Years ago a lot of newsagents
were retired bank managers who wanted
to keep working and so they bought
themselves a job. Some often start out
with enthusiasm but soon lose it when the
reality of the long hours and hard work
Q. What has been your
most embarrassing moment?
A. It was frightening and embarrassing
actually. Once a guy pulled a shotgun on
me and threaten to blow me away for
sleeping with his wife. Let me explain —
years ago before my business specialised
solely in debt collection services I also used
to serve legal documents for solicitors
working in family law. When I turned up to
serve papers on this poor bloke whose wife
had run off he thought I was the one she’d
run off with. It was frightening for obvious
reasons, but embarrassing because I
hadn’t read the papers I was serving and
I probably could have prepared myself.
Anyway I talked him out of shooting me
and came back later with the police.
Q. What makes you laugh?
A. That does actually! Simply because I
survived to tell the story. But really I can
get a laugh out of most things. Anything
that’s funny, I’m not fussy.
Q. Seen any good movies lately?
A. I was really impressed with The Reader
with Kate Winslet. War history intrigues
me and I’ve been to Poland, to Auschwitz
and to where the German bunkers were...
but this movie just tells a very compelling
Q. Are you reading a book at
A. I’m trying to get through Angels &
Demons so I can compare it to the movie
when I get to see that. I’m not a great
novel reader. I prefer non-fiction to fiction
and war history in particular. I’ve had a
few trips to France and I’ve been to The
Somme, Gallipoli and Normandy. It’s
interesting, and I think it’s good that more
things are coming to light about battles in
both the world wars the further they fade
into history. If it’s not a book that deals in
historic fact there’s nothing wrong with
the odd Dan Brown story complete with
its conspiracy theory.
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