Disputing a Debt: Where do I start?

You have the right to dispute a debt when the debt is not yours or you disagree with the amount owing. Before the dispute, you should source some free legal advice to make sure you’re making the right decision.

There are 3 main reasons as to why you would dispute a debt:

  1. The debt has already been paid: A debt collector may contact you even though the debt has been paid in full, or it was settled in another way.
  2. The debt should be less: This dispute arises when you disagree with the amount claimed. You will have to ask for an itemised statement of your account that clearly sets out: the amount of alleged debt, how it was calculated and details of all payments made and amounts owing.
  3. If it’s not your debt: If you are approached about a debt you are unaware of, it may be a case of mistake of identity or identity theft.

The best place to start is to seek legal advice. All information will remain confidential and you will be provided with support and a plan of action.


Help with legal issues

The following are a list of Legal Aid centres that offer free legal advice.

Legal Aid ACT 1300 654 314

Legal Aid New South Wales 1300 888 529 or 02 9219 5000

Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission 1800 019 343

Legal Aid Queensland 1300 651 188

South Australia
Legal Services Commission of South Australia 1300 366 424

Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania 1300 366 611

Victoria Legal Aid 1800 677 402 or 03 9269 0120

Western Australia 
Legal Aid Western Australia 1300 650 579

National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007