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Sample Letter Guidelines

About the letter templates

To sort out your legal problem you will need to contact your creditor or insurer to tell them about your situation. To help you with this, we have created a set of letter templates which you can use to write to your creditors, insurers or Ombudsmen.

The letter templates help you to write to the other party in different situations. You can add your own details such as your name, address and the reasons why you can’t pay the money. You will then need to copy & paste the generated letter into your email or into a Word document in order to send the letter to the other party.  Once you have pasted the generated letter into your own email or Word program you can made additional changes to the main text of the letter, however we do not advise deleting any of the legal content that has been automatically generated.

If you have any questions about how to use the letter templates or if you need legal advice or financial counselling before completing a letter, please call 1800 007 007.

How the template letters work

Introduction

First, you can see a sample of the letter to get an idea of what you are writing. This is a finished letter, with example details in it. Click on one of the letter links to start writing your own letter.

Program may not function in old versions of Internet Explorer

This program may not work properly if you are using an older version of Internet Explorer – we recommend using another browser or updating your current browser if you experience problems using these letters.

Write

Each form has a number of questions to answer and boxes for you to fill in with your information. For example, you will need to fill in your name and contact information, details of the creditor or insurer you are writing to and information on your problem..

Each letter form is different depending on the letter you are writing.

Tips for filling in the letter forms

Here’s some tips for filling in the forms:

  • before you fill in the forms, make sure you have the details of the creditor or insurer you are writing to. You will need the name and address of their Internal Dispute Resolution team.  You can look up these details from the Financial Ombudsman Australia (FOS) website [Use Find a Financial Services Provider] or the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) [Use Search for a participating financial services provider (FSP)].  Your creditor or insurer will usually be required to be a member of one of these schemes by law. If you cannot find the creditor of insurer in either scheme using the financial service provider search function on the home pages of these schemes, call 1800 367 287 and ask for the creditor’s IDR contact details. Your insurer will belong to FOS.
  • before you start a letter you should have with you any letters you have received from your creditor or insurer
  • read the information alongside each box to help you fill the form in correctly
  • information marked with an asterisk (*) is compulsory. This means you must write something in the box. If you miss out compulsory information a warning will appear on your screen when you attempt to preview the letter and you will not be able to continue until you put in all the compulsory information
  • practice filling in the form and creating a letter before doing a final version. This will help you get used to where the information goes and what it looks like when you create a letter
  • in some of the letters you can put in information about yourself and your situation to explain why you are in debt. Think about what you want to say and write your reasons clearly in the box provided. Whatever you put will be inserted into the letter exactly as you write it
  • check the letter carefully before you copy and paste it into your own email or Word document. You can go back to the form and change what you’ve written.

Preview

To see your letter, click ‘Preview Letter” at the bottom of the form. You will see a copy of your letter and can see if there is anything that you need to change. To go back to the form to make changes, choose Click here to change your selections”.

The letter will not automatically be sent to your creditor or insurer.

Copy & Paste

When you are happy with the preview of your letter, highlight the entire letter and then right-click and choose ‘Copy’. Then open a new email, or open a blank Word Document and right-click again and choose ‘Paste’. If the letter looks funny or grey, try pasting ‘Text Only’ – this will be one of your paste options when you right-click.  You can further edit the letter on your computer if you notice anything that needs changing before printing it out to send to your creditor or emailing it.

Which letter to use

You’ll need a different letter depending what you want to ask creditor or insurer for. Here’s a list of the letters and when to use them:

Credit & Debt Letters

Dealing with Debt Collection

You should use this letter if you are having problems or are being harassed by a creditor or debt collector. Before using this letter you should read our Fact Sheet on Debtor Harassment and Dealing with Debt Collection (available at: http://financialrights.org.au/fact-sheet/ and the ACCC/ASIC Debt Collection Guidelines available at: https://www.accc.gov.au/publications/dealing-with-debt-collectors-your-rights-responsibilities

Letter to Bank Cancelling a Direct Debit Authority

You should use this letter if you want your bank to cancel a direct debit that is coming out of your account. Before using this letter you should read our Fact Sheet on Direct Debits for Credit Cards or Direct Debits for Cheque and Savings Accounts, depending on what type of account you have (available at: http://financialrights.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/FRLC-Factsheet-Direct-Debts-Cheque-Savings.pdf)

Letter to Business Cancelling a Direct Debit Authority

You should use this letter if you want to cancel a direct debit agreement with a merchant that is taking payments automatically out of your bank account. Before using this letter you should read our Fact Sheet on Direct Debits for Credit Cards or Direct Debits for Cheque and Savings Accounts, depending on what type of account you have (available at: http://financialrights.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/FRLC-Factsheet-Direct-Debts-Cheque-Savings.pdf)

Letter Requesting a Hardship Variation on a Consumer Loan or Lease

You should use this letter if you need to request a change to your regular loan repayments because you are in financial hardship.

Letter to Debt Collector (Old Debt)

You should use this letter if you are being debt collected for a very old debt (older than 6 years) and either you do not believe you owe this debt, or you have not made any payments for over 6 years.  Before using this letter you should read our Fact Sheet on Recovery of Old Debts (http://financialrights.org.au/fact-sheet/)

Offer of Settlement (Where you agree you owe all or part of a debt)

You should use this letter if you want to offer your creditor a lesser amount than they claim you owe, or if you want to proposed paying your debt in instalments instead of in one lump sum. It is important that the offer you are making to settle covers the entire dispute. The terms of an offer vary depending on the circumstances. It is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice on the terms of the offer (call 1800 007 007).

Requesting Documents

You should use this letter if you want to request documents about your loan from your creditor. Before using this letter you should read our Fact Sheet on Requesting Documents (available at: http://financialrights.org.au/fact-sheet/)

Insurance Letters

Letter to Insurer Disputing Amount Claimed 

You should use this letter if you dispute the amount of money that an insurance money is demanding from you. If you are uninsured you should consider reading our ‘I’ve Had A Car Accident And I’m Uninsured’ factsheet (available at: http://insurancelaw.org.au/fact-sheet/)

Letter to Insurer Offering to Pay Insurance Debt

You should use this letter if you want to offer an insurer a lesser amount than they claim you owe, or if you want to proposed paying your debt in instalments instead of in one lump sum. If you are uninsured you should consider reading our ‘I’ve Had A Car Accident And I’m Uninsured’ factsheet (available at: http://insurancelaw.org.au/fact-sheet/)

 

Letter to Insurer – Can’t Pay Excess

You should use this letter if you having trouble paying your insurance excess. Before reading this letter you should read our ‘Paying Your Excess’ Know Your Financial Rights Checklist  (available at: http://insurancelaw.org.au/kyr-checklist/)

Only use this letter if you agree you are at fault and you own money to the insurer. Be prepared to pay, or start paying the amount you owe immediately. It is important that the offer you are making to settle covers the entire dispute. The terms of an offer vary depending on the circumstances. It is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice on the terms of the offer. Call 1300 663 464.

Letter to Insurer Raising a Dispute

You should use this letter if you are disputing a decision that your insurer has made about your claim, or if you do not believe your claim is being handled properly. You should consider reading our legal factsheet “Dispute Resolution (Insurance)” (available at: http://insurancelaw.org.au/fact-sheet/)

Once you have raised a dispute the insurance company have up to 45 days to respond to your complaint.  Once 45 days has passed you can lodge a dispute with the Financial Ombudsman Service Australia at www.fos.org.au)

Insurance Code Complaint

Use this letter if you would like to complain about the behaviour of an insurance company or about how your insurance claim has been handled. If you are unsure if you have sufficient grounds to complain to the Ombudsman, you should read the General Insurance Code of Practice (http://codeofpractice.com.au/document) or call 1300 663 464 for legal advice.  This letter should not be used if you want to dispute the decision your insurer has made regarding your claim, it is only to be used if you think the insurer has breached its obligations under the Code of Practice.

Letter to Insurer Requesting Release from Debt

You should use this letter if you owe an insurance company money but you are unable to pay because you are in long-term hardship.

You should only use this letter if the following are true:

  1. You were at fault for the accident and you admit you owe money to the insurer.
  2. You cannot afford to pay anything to the insurer (if you can afford something, use the “Offer to Pay Insurance Debt” letter instead).
  3. You can prove that you are in financial hardship, and you have evidence to attach to this letter (if you have no evidence of your financial hardship, you should see a free financial counsellor – call 1800 007 007)

If you are uninsured you should consider reading our ‘I’ve Had A Car Accident And I’m Uninsured’ factsheet (available at: http://insurancelaw.org.au/fact-sheet/)

Letter to Insurer Requesting Documents

You should use this letter if you want to request documents about your insurance claim from your insurer. If you are uninsured, you should consider reading our Fact Sheet on I’ve Had an Accident and I am Uninsured (available at: http://insurancelaw.org.au/fact-sheet/)