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THE CREDITORS AND THE DEBT COLLECTORS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BOTHER SOLDIERS – A LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE ANALYSIS

15 August 2022

Viktor ZALIZNIUK, counsel, attorney

Since the beginning of the russian invasion to Ukraine in 2014, there are frequent and inadmissible cases, when a hero-defender is obliged to fight with debt collectors’ telephone calls concerned both real and fictional debts in between real fights on the battleground. And this, not to mention the fact, that the debt could arise because the Ukrainian soldier, during protection of his own country, has no possibility to go for commercial activity or to earn money at other paid jobs. That issue has become more relevant since full-scale military war of russia against Ukraine.

That is clear, that firstly in such cases the creditor’s and his representatives’ sense of morality is decisive, but obviously this matter should be legislatively regulated.

According to that, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has passed a bill “On amending a certain laws of Ukraine concerned a settlement of overdue debt during the period of martial law in Ukraine” (registration No7414 dated 27th of May, 2022).

Within the mentioned bill a legislator has maken the only right decision to forbid for any creditors, debt collectors, agents to interact with Ukrainian heroes, who protect their country, and their relatives.

Such approach is justified, because if you leave (allow) a little loophole for example “consultive conversation”, “data actualization” etc, that will give an opportunity for debt collectors to mock our soldiers but in a veiled way. That is clear: you are not allowed to initiate any conversation in any way during the period of martial all and during 90 days since its cancellation. This is it.

And now we will go into details.

Which loans are subject to restrictions according to the law?

Firstly, they are a consumer loans. In other words, all loans (money) provided to the consumer for the purchase of goods (works, services) to meet needs. And it is not only a teapot or an iron, it is also a car, a house or an apartment etc. Only funds provided for the development and to conduct an entrepreneurial activity, business, and professional activity are not consumer loans.

What are the protected categories of persons?

The protected categories are:

  • soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, other military formations formed in accordance with the laws of Ukraine and special enforcement agencies, the State Transport Special Service, the State Service for Special Communication and Information Protection of Ukraine, who are serving military service on the territory of Ukraine;
  • servicemen who became disabled as a result of an illness connected with military service or as a result of an illness after their release from military service associated with military service;
  • family members of servicemen who deceased or are missing;
  • persons who are in captivity, with whom contact had been lost, and the ones who are missing.

At the same time the creditors and the debt collectors are not allowed to cooperate not only with the named categories of persons but also with their relatives and representatives (except representative, who is not a close relative of a protected person).

A notice of noncooperation

In order to be protected in the way stipulated by the law, it is necessary for the soldier or his close relatives, representatives, successors, guarantors or third parties to notice a creditor or debt collectors that a certain person belongs to the protected category by the any type of communication (we recommend to use types of communication, which you can record) and to provide a creditor or debt collector with supporting documents.

For their part, creditors are obliged to place on the main page of their website the e-mail, location and telephone number (hotline), which can be used to receive notices from consumers and other persons specified in the law concerned belonging to the protected category.

Which supporting documents and for whom they are?

Supporting documents concerned belonging a consumer to the protected category are:

  • for soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, other military formations formed in accordance with the laws of Ukraine and special law enforcement agencies, the State Transport Special Service, the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, who are serving military service on the territory of Ukraine, – a certificate in the form, stipulated by law, signed by the commander (chief, head) or a person who replaces him, of the relevant structural unit in which such soldier is serving, or the head of the territorial recruitment and social support center that took measures to call-up the consumer for military service, and sealed with a stamp. It is allowed to draft a handwritten certificate;
  • for military servicemen who became disabled as a result of an illness related to military service, or as a result of an illness after their release from military service related to military service, – a certificate of war disabled person;
  • for family members of servicemen who deceased – a certificate of a family member of a deceased;
  • for persons who are in captivity, with whom contact has been lost, missing persons, for family members of military servicemen who have been missing – information provided by the state entity, which performs the functions of the National Bureau of Information, that the person is being held in captivity, or is being held as a hostage by the state-aggressor, or is included in the register as one with whom contact has been lost, or is missing.

Every creditor, collector, individual and legal entity engaged by the creditor after receiving of such notice with copies of supporting documents must immediately cease any interaction with the consumer (soldier) and his close relatives, representative, successor, guarantor or property guarantor.

In the notice to the creditor, except providing with copies of supporting documents, we recommend to state: “I want to cease any interaction with your company (institution, organization) during the period of martial law and after its cancellation within 90 days in accordance with the law”.

Team

Viktor Zalizniuk
Counsel, Attorney
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