Bad debts up 500 per cent as easy credit bites
5:00AM Sunday May 25, 2008
By Cliff Taylor

The credit crunch has hit home for thousands of New Zealanders as debt collection agencies report up to a 500 per cent increase in workload over the past few months.

Debt collectors who have been in the industry for more than 15 years say they have never been busier, with small-time borrowers and businesses "across the board" defaulting on loans and payment for services.

Meanwhile, budgeting advisory services are swamped with people needing help as debts spiral out of control. One service says its waiting time to see new clients is up to five weeks.

Graeme Byers, owner of debt collector Guardian Credit Services, told the Herald on Sunday his business had increased by between 400 and 500 per cent this year.

"There's just more debt out there. Poorer people are getting hammered."

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