Advocacy

According to NAB’s Australian Wellbeing Survey, 40% of Australians experienced hardship in the last three months (this is pre COVID), which is astounding. So, if you are struggling, you are not alone, and we can help.
Here you will find useful links, contacts and information which we hope will better enable you to speak with your creditors. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to your creditors, we’ve got some other options and tools which might help.

Self-Represented
If you feel comfortable speaking with your creditors, it might be useful to understand your rights and your creditors obligations before you speak with them. We’ve included some useful links here that we hope will help you to understand how your creditors may be able to help you through the tough times.

‘If you don’t have the contact details for your creditor, we’ve provided the contact details for the most common creditors here. Alternatively, you can use the following link, provided by AFCA, to find the contact details of your creditors, https://www.afca.org.au/make-a-complaint/findafinancialfirm

Semi-Self Represented
Even after understanding your rights, you may not feel comfortable speaking with your creditors. You are definitely not alone feeling anxious about that. To help you get through this, we’ve provided ‘DIY Packs’, which are simple, pre-filled forms that you can use to send to your creditors, explain your situation and ask for help. Here.

Represented

There are several services which you can contact who may be able to speak with your creditor on your behalf. We would suggest a financial counsellor as your first point of contact. You’ll find contact details for these services here. For various reasons, there might be a wait period before you can engage with a financial counsellor. We would strongly encourage that you communicate to your creditors that you are experiencing hardship and have reached out to a financial counsellor and explain when your meeting is. You might also ask them to place a hold on payments or collections activity until you’ve had an opportunity to meet with a financial counsellor. You don’t need to do this by phone if you feel uncomfortable, an email is enough – but it is so important that you do communicate with your creditors in some way and please, don’t bury your head in the sand – your situation will improve, but the implications of not letting your creditors know you’re struggling have the potential to impact you for several years.

Paid Representatives
A number of organisations charge a fee to represent you and engage with your creditors. Their services range from default removal to negotiating a reduction of your debt or having your debt waived completely. We would encourage you to seek the assistance of a financial counsellor before you consider a paid representative. Many paid representatives act ethically and are successful in their efforts to assist consumers, but, like any industry, there are always a few bad apples in the barrel – so consider carefully before you engage a paid representative.

Small Village Advocacy
As a secondary function, we sometimes advocate on behalf of clients. We do this where we see that financial difficulty is impacting our clients wellbeing or a client presents with issues which are causing financial difficulty. Our capacity to advocate is dependant on our resources, which are limited at times. If you fall into any of the categories here please feel free to reach out to us here