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Credit, Debt & Consumer Law

A debt is where a person owes money to another person or organisation. Some debts come from an agreement that allows a borrower to get money, products, or services immediately from a lender and then repay them later (‘credit’). Common types of debt include loans, credit cards, phone bills, and money owed to Centrelink or another government organisation. Fines are also a type of debt.

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What is credit?

Credit is an agreement between a lender and a borrower (such as a bank or financial institution) that allows the borrower to get money, products, or services immediately and then repay the lender at a later time.

The amount of money owed under that agreement is debt. You will need to pay back your debt, usually with interest and fees on top.

What is a debt?

A debt is where a person owes money to another person or organisation.

Common types of debt include debt relating to:

Fines are also a type of debt. A fine is a penalty for breaking the law, such as speeding, using drugs, and drinking in a public place. Fines can be issued by Courts, the police, or another official such as a Council Ranger.

You can learn more about debts by reading our factsheet here.

What is consumer law?

Consumers have the right to expect certain things when they buy a product or service. These rights are protected under consumer law and are known as consumer guarantees. Consumer law can also protect consumers from certain unfair behaviour by businesses that sell products and services.

When should I get help with credit, debt & consumer law?

You might need to seek legal help if you answer “yes” to any of the below questions:

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Free legal help for women & non-binary persons

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“QUICK EXIT” BUTTON

The TEWLS website has a “quick exit” button in the top right-hand corner of the page.

This button will close the TEWLS website and open the Bureau of Meteorology website. You may need to use this button if you are worried that someone is watching you use the computer or that you have been looking at the TEWLS website.

The “quick exit” button does not delete your browser history. This means that if someone checks your browser history, they will be able to see that you have visited the TEWLS website.

MORE ABOUT HIDING YOUR HISTORY

Remember, deleting large parts of your internet history may be dangerous. This is because it may tell someone that you do not want your internet history to be found.

If you need help with online safety and/or technological safety, you can visit the eSafety Commissioner website here or you can call 1800 RESPECT on their 24-hour telephone counselling and support service. If you are in danger, you should call the Police on 000.

DO YOU SPEAK A LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH?

If you would like to speak to TEWLS with an interpreter:

You can call TEWLS on 1800 234 441 and ask to speak to us with an interpreter. We can organise this for free. You will need to tell us your name, your phone number and the language that you speak. We will then call you back with an interpreter on the phone.

TEWLS are able to organise interpreters for most languages, including Aboriginal languages and Auslan.

 

You can also organise for TEWLS to contact you:

To organise for TEWLS to contact you, please complete the form through the Request An Appointment button on the TEWLS home page.

DO YOU WANT TO ACCESS THE TEWLS WEBSITE IN A LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH?

If you would like to listen to the TEWLS website in an
Aboriginal language:

TEWLS has had four Top End Aboriginal languages recorded for this website. You can click the “play” button to listen to these recordings.

The languages that are currently available are:

  • Murrinh-Patha
  • Tiwi
  • Warlpiri
  • Yolngu Matha
 

If you would like to read the TEWLS website in a language other than English:

The TEWLS website is able to be translated to lots of different languages. To change the language settings, press the “English” button in the top bar of the website and choose the language that you speak.
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