Financial Rights Legal Centre
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Call our Credit & Debt Hotline
on 1800 007 007.
Fact Sheets

These fact sheets are for information only. It is recommended that you get legal advice about your situation.
These resources have been produced with funding from NSW Office of Fair Trading.


Financial Hardship

Getting a loan

Problems with your loan

Financial Counselling

Banking

Debt collection

The Local Court

Bankruptcy

Insurance


A brief summary of each of the fact sheets appears below.


Should I Consider Bankruptcy?

Filing for Bankruptcy is a BIG decision that can have many consequences for your future. Read this factsheet to learn more about how bankruptcy works, and possible alternatives you may have.

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Before You Borrow Money

Several questions you should ask yourself and tips to consider before getting a loan.

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Bushfire Insurance Guide

This guide covers the following topics: Types of insurance; Whether your insurance policy covers bushfires; What are typical issues to consider in bushfire
Insurance claims; Additional benefits under most policies; The claims handling process; What can I do if my claim is refused, or if the claim is taking too long; and Keeping on top of finances.

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I Can’t Pay My Electricty Debt

Electricity debts can be stressful, but electricity is an essential service so don’t run out and get a loan. Read this factsheet for information about EAPA Vouchers and how to negotiate repayments with your utility supplier

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I Can’t Pay Back My Loan

You can apply to your local court to pay off your debt in small repayments over time. Read this factsheet and get legal advice BEFORE you confess the debt and apply to pay by instalments.

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I Can’t Pay My Phone Debt

Phone debt can be a real problem, and the best cure for is prevention. Read this factsheet for tips and strategies on how to avoid and manage phone debt.

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I’ve Had A Car Accident And I’m Uninsured

Your options vary greatly depending whether or not you were at fault. This factsheet goes through your options and rights depending on the circumstances of the accident.

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What Can I Do If My Car Insurance Claim Is Refused?

This fact sheet is an overview of some common reasons why an insurer may refuse your car insurance claim and what options you have after you have received a rejection.

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Chargebacks

A “chargeback” is the name given for when your financial institution sends back a debit on your account to the merchant’s bank when a transaction was unauthorised, the merchant did not deliver the goods or services to you, or the goods or services were not as described.

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Making A Claim On Your Car Insurance

Useful tips and information about when to claim on your car insurance, paying excess, repairs, delays and how to raise a dispute with your insurance company.

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Making A Claim On My Home And/Or Contents Insurance

Useful tips and information about when to claim on your home and or contents insurance, paying excess, repairs, delays and how to raise a dispute with your insurance company.

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Consumer Credit Insurance – Making A Claim

Consumer Credit Insurance is insurance that covers payments due on a credit contract while you (the borrower) are unable to work due to illness or accident. Read this for tips on wether it will be good value in your situation.

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How Do I Get Copies Of My Loan Documents?

There are many reasons why you may want to obtain copies of loan documents and account information. Read this for tips on when and how to go about it.

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Dealing With Debt Collection

If you have fallen behind in the payment of a debt chances are the creditor or a debt collector will contact you. Before you agree to anything there are some important questions you should first consider.

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Debt Enforcement in the Local Court

Read this fact sheet to understand your rights and responsibilities if debts are being enforced against you in the Local Court. Remember, the Sheriff cannot come and take your property until there is court judgment against you!

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Debt Recovery in the Local Court

If you are being threatened with court action over a debt it is useful to know what happens and if you can do something to stop court action.

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Debtor Harassment

If you owe someone money you are a debtor. If you get behind in your loan repayments or fail to pay a bill, chances are somebody will contact you to request payment. There are rules that debt collectors must follow when contacting you, so read this factsheet for information on your rights.

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Help! My Insurance Claim Is Taking Forever!

Sometimes you can get stuck in limbo where you have made the claim but have not had a decision on your claim. This factsheet explains your rights to request information from the insurer or lodge a dispute if necessary.

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Direct Debits From Cheque And Savings Accounts

Although there are advantages to using direct debits, there are also pitfalls. This fact sheet tells you how to avoid the pitfalls and how to complain if you have a problem.

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Direct Debits From Credit Cards

Unfortunately, although there are advantages to using direct debits from credit cards there are also pitfalls. This fact sheet tells you how to avoid the pitfalls and what to do if you have a problem.

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Dispute Resolution (Financial)

This factsheet deals with how to resolve a dispute with your lender, broker or rental company (for goods). A dispute can involve financial hardship or ANY situation where you believe you have suffered a loss.

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Drowning In Credit Card Debt

It is very easy to get over committed with credit card debt. This factsheet will give you some ways to tackle your credit card debt.

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Family Breakdown And Debt

The end of a relationship often leads to financial hardship, especially if you are supporting children with little or no help from your ex-partner or you have joint debts which your partner is unwilling or unable to help you pay.

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Filing A Defence

If you have received a Statement of Claim Get legal advice! Even if you owe the debt you may have other
Options. You have 28 days from the date the Statement of Claim is served on you (usually by mail) to file a defence or go to EDR if it’s available.

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Finance/Mortgage Brokers

A finance broker deals with the lenders for you and arranges a loan for you. Read this for information on common problems with using a broker and hints for how to get the most out of using one.

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Financial Hardship

Financial hardship is difficulty in paying the repayments on your loans and debts when they are due. Read this factsheet for information and tips on your rights and how to get help.

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Flood Insurance Guide

This guide covers the following topics: Types of insurance; Whether your insurance policy covers flood; What are typical issues to consider in flood
Insurance claims; Additional benefits under most policies; The claims handling process; What can I do if my claim is refused, or if the claim is taking too long; and Keeping on top of finances.

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What Can I Do If I Am Investigated On An Insurance Claim?

Investigations by insurers can be very upsetting and intimidating. This fact sheet gives you information about your rights and responsibilities if you are being investigated for an insurance claim.

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R.I.P. Off! Why you don’t need Funeral Insurance

Funeral Insurance is a type of insurance that you take out to cover the cost of your funeral after you die. However, funeral insurance may not be your best option. This factsheet lists some valuable things to consider and possible alternatives to funeral insurance.

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Getting A Loan With Someone Else

Getting a loan with another person is a big responsibility. A joint loan (or debt) is a loan that both you and the co-borrower or joint borrower have to pay. Read about some common Myths and misunderstandings regarding joint loans.

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Going Guarantor

A guarantee is where you promise to repay the loan if the borrower does not pay. If the borrower does not make all the repayments under the loan contract you will have to pay back the entire amount outstanding plus interest, charges and fees.

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What Can I Do If My Home And/Or Contents Insurance Claim Is Refused

This fact sheet is an overview of some common reasons why an insurer may refuse your home and or contents insurance claim and what options you have after you have received a rejection.

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Frequently Asked Insurance Questions

This factsheet answers commonly asked questions about car accidents, car insurance claims, insurance investigations and home and or contents insurance.

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Line Of Credit Loans And Home Loans With Redraw

Line of credit loans and home loan redraw have proved to be very useful for many consumers but redraw funds are very tempting (to spend). Make sure you understand your options when getting one of these types of loans.

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Mortgage Stress – Do I Need To Sell My Home?

You should consider selling your home if you cannot afford your loan repayments and you will be unable to afford your repayments for some years to come.

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Mortgage Stress

Useful information on when and how a lender can repossess your home, what your rights are against the lender, and steps that you can take to get back on track.

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Does The National Credit Law Apply

After 1 July 2010 all credit contracts are covered by national credit legislation although the old Credit Code provisions may still apply to some contracts started before that date. You have important protections under the new National Credit Law.

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What Can I Do If My Insurer Agrees To Pay Some, But Not All Of My Claim?

There may be many reasons why an insurer may pay some but not all of what you perceive to be the full value of your claim. In general, the most common reason is where the insurer’s assessment of the extent of damage differs to your assessment.

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Making An Application To Pay By Instalments

You can apply to your local court to pay off your debt in small repayments over time. Read this factsheet and get legal advice BEFORE you confess the debt and apply to pay by instalments.

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Problem With The Quality Of Repairs (Arranged By The Insurer)

If you have had repairs done by your insurer and you are unsatisfied with the quality of workmanship or parts used or the timeliness of the work there are steps you can take. Regardless who actually does the work be the insurer’s authorised repairer or a subcontractor the insurance company is reasonable for the quality of the repairs.

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Recovery Of Old Debts

If a debt is more than six years old you have certain rights before that debt can be enforced against you. Read this factsheet before you offer to pay anything.

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Refinancing

Refinancing is simply replacing a loan you already have with another loan. Refinancing is a big financial decision and you should always take your time to consider your options and shop around.

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Rental Cars And Insurance

Rental car companies do not provide insurance. It is in fact a liability limitation product. It provides very poor coverage if you damage the rental car. If you are at fault in a car accident you usually have no cover for the damage to the other car!

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Repossession (Car And Goods)

Goods bought on credit can only be repossessed in specific circumstances, and there are certain essential goods that can never be repossessed. Read this factsheet to make sure you know your rights.

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Making An Application to Set Aside Judgment

If there is a judgment against you, you may be able to apply to the court to have the judgment set aside but you will have to explain your situation to the court. Read this for information and tips about what to do.

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The Sheriff And Seizure Of Goods

If a Sheriff comes to your home and explains that if you do not pay the amount owing your goods will be taken and sold at auction to pay the debt, read this factsheet and call us immediately for advice.

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Transferring To A Court Near You

In some circumstances, the plaintiff (the person or company making a claim against you) will commence court action at a Local Court that is a fair distance away from where you live or work. This fact sheet describes how to request a change of venue.

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Unauthorised Transactions

Unauthorised transactions and in particular, credit card fraud, are on the increase. This fact sheet explains how to prevent unauthorised transactions and what to do when they occur.

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How To Use Your PDS

The insurance contract is made up of your certificate of insurance and the product disclosure statement (PDS). Together these documents set out the contractual rights and obligations of the insurer and the insured.

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Your Credit Report

Your credit report is a record containing a lot of information about your dealings with credit providers. Big changes to credit reporting have taken place in 2014. Read this for information on your rights and responsibilities under the law.

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Superannuation

You may be able get access to your superannuation when you are behind on your home loan or for medical reasons. Read this factsheet for more information.

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Flood Premiums

If you have questions about getting flood cover or about rising premiums on your home insurance, read this factsheet.

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Buying Car Insurance

Buying car insurance can be confusing. There are lots of different types of insurance and a lot of different products to choose from. This factsheet will give you the information you need to compare products and choose the right type of insurance for your needs.

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Pawnbroking

Going to a pawn broker might seem like an easy way to get cash fast, but if you want to reclaim your goods you will need to repay the loan, plus steep interest and charges. Read this factsheet for information on your rights against a pawn broker

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Getting Help

This factsheet has links and contact details for lots of helpful (and free) organisations.

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Dispute Resolution (Insurance)

This fact sheet will outline the process involved in raising a dispute with your insurance company. This fact sheet also covers the limited circumstance in which you are an uninsured driver, involved in a car accident where you are not at fault, and the other party has insurance and your claim for damage is less than $5,000.

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Storm Insurance

This factsheet will be useful if you have been affected by a disaster such as a cyclone or other storm. It gives information about rainwater and storm surge definitions, discusses how to deal with assessors, and explains common challenges made by insurance companies.

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Pay Day Lending

If you need a small loan quickly to pay expenses before your next payday it can be difficult to get credit from a mainstream lender. You may be tempted to take out a small amount loan from one of the many “quick-cash” lenders that can be found advertised online or on the street. However be sure to check all your options first because the fees on cash loans like these can be extremely high, and you could end up in a Debt Trap. This factsheet will give you some information about your rights and the risks when using a payday loan.

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Debt Agreements

Debt Agreements are an Act of Bankruptcy and may seriously affect your credit report. Read this factsheet for more information on the benefits, consequences and alternatives to formal Debt Agreements. You should always get free and independent advice from a financial counsellor before entering into a Debt Agreement.

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Help! I’m Being Made Bankrupt!

You can be forced into bankruptcy if you have committed an Act of Bankruptcy. This fact sheet will give you more information on how someone can be made bankrupt and what to do about it.

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There are black marks on my Credit Report – Should I hire a Credit Repair Company?

Credit Repair Companies advertise that they will be able to “fix” or “clean” a bad credit report and “improve” a poor credit score. They claim that they are able to help consumers by updating and removing any “black marks” on their credit reports, but there are some fairly serious limitations hidden in the fine print. This fact sheet gives you information about why Credit Repair Company’s are harmful, suggests alternatives and also explains what to do if you find yourself already signed up.

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I’m in debt – Should I sign up with a Debt Negotiation Firm?

Employing a Debt Negotiator to deal with your creditors may sound
like an attractive option, but the wrong service can make your
situation much worse, and still charge you for their services.
This fact sheet gives you information about why Debt Negotiation
may be harmful, suggests alternatives and also explains what to do if
you find yourself already signed up

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I’m finding it hard to manage my finances – should I sign up with a Personal Budgeting Service?

Personal Budgeting Services (or “Money Management”) offer to
take away the stress of managing your money by doing it for you.
Beware, you are giving up some control of your money and there will
be limits to what they will take responsibility for. Most importantly,
if you don’t have enough money to go around now, adding another
bill for the management services is not going to help! This fact sheet gives you information about why signing up to Personal
Budgeting Service may be harmful, suggests alternatives and also explains
what to do if you find yourself already signed up.

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Debt Agreement Brokers

There are many services out there offering help for people in debt.
You will find them on the internet and see or hear them advertised
on television and radio. Many of these services are commercially
operated and will charge you for their help, usually after enticing
you with a free consultation. You may contact a service for help
with fixing your credit report, or for debt consolidation, or just some
advice, and end up being offered a Debt Agreement. This Fact Sheet
is about services which steer you into Debt Agreements under the
Bankruptcy Act.

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If a tree falls…

This fact sheet will be useful to anyone who has had a tree fall in their backyard, onto their property (be it a car or house) or onto a fence or neighbour's property

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Pet peeves – Pet insurance and you

Your dog Spot and cat BooBoo are your best friends – a part of your
family. If anything were to happen to Spot and BooBoo you would be
devastated. Should you insure Spot and BooBoo? The answer is not so straightforward. This Fact Sheet explains the pitfalls and issues involved with Pet Insurance and provides alternative options.

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R.I.P. Off! Why you don’t need Funeral Insurance (Brochure)

Funeral Insurance is a type of insurance that you take out to cover the cost of your funeral after you die. However, funeral insurance may not be your best option. This brochure lists some valuable things to consider and possible alternatives to funeral insurance.

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