Jennifer Lewis is a senior solicitor at the Financial Rights Legal Centre, a community service offering advice and advocacy for consumers suffering financial stress.
Her service has been approached by many people struggling to manage their debts who are anxious and unnerved about their financial situations. Others have been asked to be guarantors for family members.
Jennifer says while banks have been accommodating with mortgage payments and other loans, the time for flexibility and hardship provisions is drawing to a close as lockdowns wind down over the next few weeks.
She says some people see declaring bankruptcy as a solution, but she advises that this can have severe implications for your life, for example your house can be sold.
She strongly suggests seeking advice and exploring other options.
Some people owe payday lenders with debts escalating rapidly because of excessive interest charges.
Jennifer says there is plenty of help for people in financial difficulty.
Further help and information:
- National debt helpline 1800 007 007
- Credit and debt advice line 1800 844 949
- Financial Rights Legal Centre
- Gambling helpline 1800 858858
- Lifeline Problem Gambling
- Where to Get Help When You’re in Debt
- Managing debt, bills and fines
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