Financial counsellors can provide free, confidential and independent advice about debts, money management and the debt recovery system. They act as negotiators with creditors, and provide paralegal advice on credit, debt and bankruptcy. A directory of financial counselling organisations is in Financial counselling services.
If you need to seek legal advice, you can contact the Consumer Action Law Centre, your local community legal centre or VLA (see Legal services that can help, for contact details).
The Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC) provides free legal advice and representation to vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers across Victoria. CALC can give advice about whether you have grounds to dispute a debt. The CALC website has fact sheets about credit and debt. You can also email CALC your free legal advice query via the website.
Consumer Action Law Centre
Tel (consumer advice lines): 9629 6300; 1800 466 477
You can contact Consumer Affairs Victoria about debt problems:
Consumer Affairs Victoria
GPO Box 123, Melbourne Vic 3001
Tel (consumer help line): 1300 558 181 (Monday–Friday, 9.30 am–5 pm)
CAV has offices in metropolitan and regional Victoria; see their website for office contact details.
MoneyHelp provides free, confidential and independent financial advice to Victorians who are struggling to pay their mortgage or rent, or have experienced, or are facing, job loss or reduced working hours. MoneyHelp also offers a free financial counselling service.
Tel (counselling service): 1800 007 007 (Monday–Friday, 9.30 am–5.00 pm
VLA’s booklet, Debt Problems: The Law, Your Options (January 2013) provides information about what can happen if you do not pay your debts. This booklet is available from VLA’s website.
Victoria Legal Aid
Tel (legal help line): 1300 792 387 (Monday–Friday, 8.45 am–5.15 pm)