WA Debt Collection for Store Card Purchases

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9 July 2014
Good afternoon, long story short: I was in a relationship, we bought stuff together on a store card in my name. Stupidly, my then partner was not entered as a second person on the cards. Fast forward: we split up and now I find out she was not repaying cards from the joint bank account that my pay was going into.

Now I have debt collectors harassing me daily, threatening legal action and threatening to take my pay from my employer!

I have tried to privately borrow the money to settle the credit card debt, but they ask too much and won't accept my offers.

I'm really stuck! Do I declare? (i hold dual citizenship so a passport from the UK isn't a problem?), or do I suck it up and pay their greedy inflated amount they want? Or do I just ignore it and wait till the 5 year mark makes them invalid? How do I get a copy of my credit report without them finding my address, as right now they don't know were I am residentially?

Also can I demand they stop ringing me at work? Its affecting my job status, as my boss is tired of all the calls coming in.

I don't know what to do, don't know whether to try for Legal Aid because I really don't earn a great deal, and would really struggle with a repayment plan set at their level.

Any help appreciated (I feel real embarrassed I'm 40 in a few months and I have never been in this situation before, and I have no real place to turn).



9 July 2014
Yeah im getting desperate now, credit corp are threatening imediate legal action and I have no idea what to do. Can anyone help please?


Hi Chris,

Firstly, a few questions about your relationship with your ex, because if you could be considered to have been in a de facto relationship you may be entitled to a court awarded property settlement in the same manner as a married couple.

What was the nature of your relationship

The following factors are used to determine whether a de facto relationship exists between two people, but not all factors are essential:
  • The length of the relationship between them
  • Whether they lived in the same residence
  • The nature and extent of their common residence
  • Whether there is, or has been, a sexual realtionship between them
  • The degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support, between them
  • The ownership, use and purchase of their property (including property they own individually)
  • The degree of mutual commitment by them to a shared life
  • Whether they care for and support children, and
  • How their relationship as a couple is perceived by others

When did you split?
Applications can only be made for the court to resolve a property or maintenance dispute if the relationship existed for at least two years or there is a child of the partners, or one of the partners has made substantial financial or non-financial contributions to their property or as homemaker or parent, and serious injustice would result to that partner if an order was not made.

The legislation requires that parties that were in a de facto relationship finalise or commence litigation within two years of separating. All is not lost if you do not meet this deadline, it just makes things more difficult and more costly because of extra steps require

How will a court determine a settlement? (This is what the family court website says)
The Family Law Act 1975 sets out the general principles the court considers when deciding financial disputes after the breakdown of a marriage (see Sections 79(4) and 75(2)) or a de facto relationship (see Sections 90SM(4) and 90SF(3)). The general principles are the same, regardless of whether the parties were in a marriage or a de facto relationship, and are based on:
  • working out what you've got and what you owe, that is your assets and debts and what they are worth
  • looking at the direct financial contributions by each party to the marriage or de facto relationship such as wage and salary earnings
  • looking at indirect financial contributions by each party such as gifts and inheritances from families
  • looking at the non-financial contributions to the marriage or de facto relationship such as caring for children and homemaking, and
  • future requirements – a court will take into account things like age, health, financial resources, care of children and ability to earn.
It is important to realise that the way your assets and debts will be shared between you will depend on the individual circumstances of your family. Your settlement will probably be different from others you may have heard about.

Debt Consolidation
If a property settlement to divide your debts and assets is out of the question or will not assist you, I would consider debt consolidation. Be careful when selecting a debt consolidation plan and make sure you are aware of all the fees, rates and charges, however they are quite useful to consolidate your debt into one simple repayment at a lower interest rate.

You can use the following calculator on NAB website to see how long it will take you to pay off your debt with a debt consolidation loan:


Most banks offer such loans so shop around for the best deal.

Also, yes you can certainly tell debt collectors that they are not to contact you at work, as it places your employment in jeopardy. Be sure to provide your mobile number and specify that you won't be contactable during work hours.

I hope that helps. If you have any further queries I would contact Legal aid in WA with respect to both issues and they can provide some further guidance for you.
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Reactions: Sarah J

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria
Hi Chris,

Sophea provides some useful information about going to court and obtaining a property order against your ex.

In the meantime:

- You may obtain a copy of your credit report from a company called Veda. You will ordinarily need to pay a fee for your report. However, there is a free report option if you have applied for a credit application and been declined the application within the past 90 days: http://www.mycreditfile.com.au/home/free-credit-file.dot. Veda will require a variety of identification from you, including your address and current/previous employer. This is because only the person to whom the credit file belongs can request a copy of that file. Therefore, they need to verify your identity. I would suggest contacting Veda beforehand to enquire about their privacy policy in order to ensure that the information you provide Veda cannot be accessed by Credit Corp. You can access their contact page here: http://www.veda.com.au/contact-us

- With regard to the actual debt and interest owing, it is worthwhile to contact the Financial Ombudsman Services ("FOS"). There are particular credit management procedures as well as regulation and policy pertaining to debt collectors (rate of interest, what information you were provided at the point of sale for the credit card, debt collection procedures, harassment policy, financial hardship policies etc). FOS may be able to assist you with further information about these procedures as well as in stopping Credit Corp from contacting your employer directly. FOS is a free service and a good source of information on what the law (and industry practices) expects from consumers and financial institutions. You can access their contact page here: http://www.fos.org.au/about-us/contact-details/

Hope this helps and keep us updated on how it all goes.