10 February 2016
Domestic discord or relationship breakdown is one of the most common causes of personal insolvencies. The others are unemployment or loss of income and excessive use of credit, while for personal insolvencies connected to a business, it’s economic conditions.
In the 2014-2015 financial year, there were 28,288 personal insolvencies in Australia, including 17,163 bankruptcies, according to Australian Financial Security Authority data. A personal insolvency agreement is a stop short of bankruptcy – it lets a person settle debts with creditors without actually going bankrupt.
Author Julie Ann Cairns also had a life-changing learning experience with money, though her lesson came from teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
5 February 2016
Hundreds of thousands of ANZ customers have launched their final appeal against the bank over credit card late fees in the High Court.
The long-running class action is focused on the question of whether ANZ unfairly charged its customers up to $35 for running late in paying credit card bills.
Lawyers for about 200,000 customers argued on Thursday that the fees, which were charged on top of interest, were illegal penalties.
The Federal Court initially accepted this argument in 2014.
The outcome of the current two-day hearing will affect class actions against seven banks
3 February 2016
Car finance provider, BMW Australia Finance Ltd (BMW Finance), has paid penalties totalling $391,000 and had a condition placed on its Australian credit licence following concerns raised by ASIC.
The licence condition requires BMW Finance to appoint a compliance consultant after ASIC found it breached important consumer protection provisions relating to responsible lending and the repossession of motor vehicles.
2 February 2016
The average bad marriage lasts 12 long years, says the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The average bad debt – we’re talking credit cards here – endures for a painful 15 years longer.
Yes, few people consider taking out a bigger credit-card commitment than tying the knot but just putting in the minimum can mean double the pledge on the former.
1 February 2016
You can now contact the Legal Services Commission with your legal concern by online text message.
The assistance provided by the Commission via our Legal Chat facility is intended as general legal information only between Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
The Commission also provides a free Telephone Advice Line via 1300 366 424 – as well as providing free face-to-face legal appointments and legal education and training sessions. Telephone legal advice is available for preliminary information, advice and referrals. Advice is usually restricted to a client’s basic legal rights and obligations about a particular situation.
29 January 2016
The Australian Greens will move to stop the introduction of the cashless welfare card trial set for Ceduna in South Australia, when Parliament returns next week. Greens spokesperson Senator Senator Rachel Siewert said that with the Government’s “clear ideological intention” to expand the cashless welfare card trials throughout regional Australia, the Greens planned to move to disallow the Ceduna trial.
27 January 2016
Technology makes it easier for problem gamblers to hide their addiction, but even poker-machine junkies who spend hours at pokies venues can keep their secret for years by “telling lies, covering up, scheming and scamming” as one paper describes it
25 January 2016
As online subscription services take off, direct debits on credit and debit cards are becoming more common.
While direct debits are not new, the increased popularity of the payment method raises the risks for consumers.
The spectacular collapse of Dick Smith highlights the risk of businesses going bust. Then there’s the uncertain fees, currency rate movements and changing terms and conditions.
Zac Gillam, senior policy officer at the Consumer Action Law Centre, warns that it’s easy to lose track
22 January 2016
When Cathie and Demetrio Scarfone applied for a bank loan and were knocked back, they were shocked. They soon discovered incorrect credit default listings against their names.
In haste, they filled out an online “credit repair” form to have their names removed. They were charged $2200 by a debt management firm for a service they ended up receiving for free through the courts.