Know your rights
You cannot be sent to prison because you cannot pay a debt (except for fines).
The credit law applies to loans and leases for personal purposes. It also applies to finance and mortgage brokers. Some of the important rights you have are:
- Disputes about your loan can be decided in free external dispute resolution
- A right to request financial hardship and have the decision reviewed and decided in external dispute resolution
- At least 30 days to fix a default on your loan
- Being given information about the terms of your loan and access to copies of loan documents and account statements on request
- Only provide you with credit that is “not unsuitable”. This means that the loan is affordable and it meets your needs.
The Australian Consumer Law and the ASIC Act requires that you’re treated in a fair and reasonable way when you owe a debt. The ACCC/ASIC Debt Collection Guideline is a practical guide to the legislation by the regulators on what can and can’t be done by creditors or debt collectors when collecting a debt. It covers your rights to:
- Be treated fairly and not be harassed or coerced
- Make reasonable repayment arrangements
- Only be contacted at reasonable times and not too often
You have the right to:
- Apply for and not be refused a reasonable repayment arrangement if you’re struggling to pay your bills
- Notice before disconnection
- Access to free external dispute resolution (in most cases)
Payday (short-term, or fast) lenders must not:
- Provide you with an ‘unsuitable’ loan (i.e. one you can’t afford to pay and/or doesn’t meet your needs)
- Take security for the loan
- Charge an amount above the interest/fees cap
You can also access free external dispute resolution.
For more information see the payday loans page