In January 2017, 21 yr old son agreed in a single phone call to debt collectors to back pay $18k worth of youth allowance and Austudy. He kept this hidden from his Mother and I.
I knew something was wrong & one day found a Pawnbrokers ticket for a $300 loan against his watch.
When confronted he admitted to several other loans to payday & micro lenders like Nimble, eventually the big debt came out - Centrelink have him on a $100 per month repayment plan to pay back over $18k.
I understand he tried to point out that he received alternating payment of youth allowance or Austudy for 2 years
The Centrelink debt pushed him to the edge as he currently only earns a couple of hundred a week & felt he had no choice but to take out these short term loans. However these quickly snowballed and he lost control.
This week (June, 6 months later) he was told the debt is now $76.00, no apology or explanation. As you can imagined he is relieved and doesn't want to pursue this in case they change their mind.
- Centrelink bullied my son over the phone into agreeing to a large & incorrect debt:
- he has paid back 6 months worth of this false debt only to have it suddenly reduced to $76 with no explanation
- the large false debt drove him further into trouble!!
- the last week has been enormously stressful in our household as initially I was very angry with my son. However I am more concerned how my son has been treated and the stress he's been under for the past 6 months.
- Centrelink owe my son an apology and I believe a refund for the money he has paid back