The debt has made my life a living hell. I thankfully live with my mum, but nonetheless it has made things incredibly difficult for me, especially since I'm unemployed.
I've been stressed and even contemplated ending my life, but thankfully, I haven't.
I have a debt of $7,918.40 with Centrelink for apparently not studying from March of 2016 to March of 2017, despite having proved to them time and time again that I was studying. I had been studying with Evocca since early 2015, but had my course extended as it changed due it being changed over to an up-to-date course.
To start from the beginning, I was doing a Diploma with Evocca (Well before I was aware of how scammy and dodgy they are).
I was happily completing the course and each assessment in the time provided. Throughout the course, I constantly had different tutors who also used different means of keeping in contact. Some would use Skype, others would send me emails and others would call me on my mobile.
Fast forward to March this year.
I received a letter in the mail from Centrelink saying that I was in debt of $7,918.40 for apparently not studying.
I contacted Evocca College shortly after and demanded an explanation, only to be hung up on after they asked if it was ok to be put on hold.
I had this happen to me at least three times. I was constantly going back and forth with Centrelink and Evocca.
Centrelink weren't happy with the information I was providing and kept telling me to get more information from Evocca. Evocca, on the other hand, weren't cooperating at all and told me that I would have to talk to Centrelink and so on and so forth.
It went on like that for months. Centrelink kept asking me for a transcript of my course. I asked Evocca for one and they instead sent me my Diploma and and Statement of Attainment. I sent them to Centrelink and they told me it wasn't the correct information.
The woman I had spoken to was incredibly rude and kept insisting that I was lying.
After having spoken with Evocca a few more times, still demanding an explanation, I finally managed to find out what had happened.
Apparently, Evocca had kicked me out from the course, but didn't restrict assess to my account or assessments. Centrelink, however, said that they received a report from Evocca saying that I left the course.
So, after another month of calling and chatting with numerous people at Centrelink and Evocca, I finally found out that I could get my Transcript from the USI (Unique Student Identifier) website. I downloaded it, checked that it was correct and sent it to Centrelink.
I thought that it would finally be over and the debt would be cleared.
I was wrong.
I received yet another call saying that it was incorrect and it needed to have every single assessment listed. In total, there were about 30-40 assessments. I told whomever I spoke to how I managed to get my Academic Transcript, without help from Evocca, especially with how uncooperative they were.
Fast forward another month or so.
After posting a few times on the Australian Reddit page, it was suggested that I contact my Local Member of Parliament, Chris Hayes.
I sent him an email and was contacted by a bloke called Alex. He was incredibly helpful and provided far more information than Centrelink and Evocca ever could.
He also knew exactly what Evocca were like and also how dodgy they were.
However, after all the information he provided and suggested, Centrelink stood their ground.
So, here I am, still in debt and starting to slowly pay it off since that I'm on Newstart Allowance.
They've done an awful job.
The Government haven't helped and clearly don't give a damn about those that are in debt.
They obviously care more about the big name companies and corporations than the Australian people.
I'm not sure what else to say. They're just terrible.