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Because if the debt is not paid within 18 months then it’s usually considered unlikely that they will pay up anytime soon, in which its more appropriate for you to be considering whether proceedings should be brought in your local court or small-claims tribunal (VCAT or QCAT).
That being the case you need to go back to the original letter of engagement or costs agreement that you have with your debt collectors. They should have given you one outlining their obligations and their costs.
Some debt collectors seek payment when they collect. Some debt collectors work on a time-costing basis. It will depend on your agreement or contract with them.
Before going to another company you should terminate your arrangement with your current debt collector. A lot of debt collectors say that the debt should be handled exclusively by them – to avoid any doubt, terminate the relationship before going to someone else.