Victoria Legal Aid

If you are in debt you have the right to be protected from illegal behaviour from creditors and debt collectors. You have the right to:

  • not be discriminated against
  • have your privacy protected
  • get help
  • question the debt.

The right to be treated fairly

You have the right not to be harassed or bullied when a creditor or debt collector contacts you. There are very strict guidelines on debt collector behaviour.

The right not to be discriminated against

Discrimination happens when you are treated unfairly because of something about you, for example, your race, age or disability. If you think you have been discriminated against, contact the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights CommissionExternal Link .

The right to have your privacy protected

You have the right to privacy. The creditor can collect, store, use or give out information about you but they need to follow the rules set out in the Privacy Act. A creditor cannot contact anyone else about your debt unless they have your written permission.

If you think that your privacy has been violated, complain to the organisation that did it. You can also contact an ombudsman. For example, if it is an electricity company that breaches your privacy, then contact the Energy and Water OmbudsmanExternal Link . You can also contact the Office of the Australian Information CommissionerExternal Link .

The right to get help

Financial counsellors and other services that deal with debt problems can help you. You may feel pressured to make a decision or to agree to something when a creditor or debt collector contacts you. You have a right to get financial or legal information and advice before signing or agreeing to anything. See Other support for debt and bankruptcy.

The right to question the debt

You can question the debt if you do not believe it is your debt, or if you think that the amount is wrong. You can find out for yourself if you are not sure what the creditor says is true.

Some of the reasons you may want to question a debt are if:

  • the debt is not yours – for example, if you think someone has fraudulently used your identity
  • you have already paid the debt or settled it in some way
  • you disagree with or are unsure about the amount being claimed
  • you have a valid defence (a legal reason) to not pay the debt.

Other support

Find out how you can get other support for debt and financial issues.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at

Reviewed 07 April 2022

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