Is your hardship response up to date?

The Consumer Law Action Centre says it has made a formal complaint to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission about Westpac’s debt collection procedures for customers in financial hardship.

Whilst not disagreeing with a decision by Westpac to reject a request for temporary relief from a borrower in longer-term hardship it has raised the following concerns with Westpac’s response:

  • Westpac threatened enforcement action, despite acknowledging that the borrower is in no position to do so, either now or in the foreseeable future;
  • the bank’s letter appeared to be based on a template that Westpac used for all its customers yet contained outdated and incorrect information about the options available to the client since the National Credit Act came into effect on 1 July;
  • The letter is signed off by Westpac’s hardship team but it actually came from its Collections Department.

[See Section 72 National Credit Code and Form 12 Regulations].

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