Department of Justice is now the Department of Communities and Justice. Find out more >
There are many different situations where debts can arise. A debt occurs when someone owes someone else money. This could be because:
you have not paid your phone, water, gas or electricity bill.
Other common examples of debts are:
In those situations, it is important to get legal advice because specific laws apply.
In this section, you can read more about:
A contract is an agreement between two or more parties. It is a legally binding promise or agreement. It doesn't have to be in writing. If one person does not carry out the terms of the contract, they may have 'breached' the contract. The other person could choose to make a claim for money or a debt arising out of the breach.
For more information, see Contracts.
Sometimes there can be a disagreement about whether money loaned was meant to be a gift, or whether there was an intention to repay the money. This is common where family members borrow money from each other.
For more information, see Gifts and private loans.
Bank loans, credit cards and mortgages are consumer credit contracts. National credit laws cover these types of contracts and these laws give additional rights to consumers if they have a consumer credit debt problem.
For more information, see Loans and credit cards.
If you have problems paying your utility bills, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan with the service provider or apply to an Ombudsman service.
For more information, see Electricity, gas, water and phone bills.
Energy and Water Ombudsman (EWON)
Moneysmart - Payday loans
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)