Difficulty repaying a product rental (consumer lease)

Renting a computer, electrical appliance or TV sounds like a great idea, especially when you can’t afford to buy one right now.

But it’s important to know that it will be very expensive in the long run and you won’t own the goods. And of course, fees and charges apply.

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Steps to take if you’re struggling to make the repayments on a product rental


Work out what you can afford to pay

If you’re struggling to pay back money you owe, the first thing to do is to work out what you can actually afford to pay by doing a simple budget. How to work out what you can afford to pay.

If you can afford to pay something
Start paying the amount you can afford and get in touch with your creditor straight away to put a repayment agreement in place.

If you can’t afford to pay anything
Call us on 1800 007 007 straight away for advice.


Contact the lease provider and tell them you’re in financial hardship

As soon as you’re having difficulty making repayments, contact your lease provider and explain you’re in financial hardship. Tell them what you can afford (based on Step 1) and confirm any agreement in writing.

Remember, if you want to keep the goods you need to return to the normal repayments within a few months. The term of the lease can be extended but it needs to be reasonable.

If you won’t be able to afford the lease repayments at all in the long term, you may need to consider surrendering the goods. Before you do this call us to discuss.


Use MoneySmart’s handy ‘Rent vs Buy’ calculator to figure out the real cost of renting to buy.


If you can’t agree, you can dispute it

If you can’t come to an agreement that you think is fair and affordable, you can lodge a dispute in the Australian Financial Complaints Authority. This free and independent service gives you an opportunity to explain how, by working with your lease provider, you can get back on track with payments. Refer to Dispute Resolution (Step 2).


Speak to one of our financial counsellors

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some help to deal with your financial hardship, you can speak with one of our financial counsellors.

Financial counsellors aren’t judgmental about your circumstances – they’re here to offer you free, confidential and independent advice and assistance.

To speak to a financial counsellor you can:

  • Call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 – open Weekdays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  • Use our live chat service by clicking the chat icon in the bottom right corner of your screen. Live chat is available 9:00 am to 8.00 pm weekdays. If you send a message outside these hours a financial counsellor will get back to you.
  • Make an appointment to see a financial counsellor in your local area – Find a local Financial Counsellor.