The initial debt amount was sent just before Christmas, due at the end of December 2016.
Many others received notices at that time.
No ‘human’ consideration was shown in the timing of these demand letters. It was extremely stressful.
I spent around 15 hours on the phone and sourcing information to prove my case; that there was no debt.
I received numerous letters, calls and texts from debt collection agencies, letters of demand, and threats of ‘add on’ charges, if the amount was not paid.
After a couple of months I proved that I had no debt.
Errors included, a ‘child allowance’ overpayment - my daughter was 21 years old at the time!
Another error was an Aged Person’s Bonus I was supposed to have received - I was 55 at the time (not eligible)
My employer’s name was written as an acronym on some documents, and it’s full business name (rather long) on others. This was wrongly interpreted as being ‘two’ employers, not one.
After my debt was waived I went to check information on the My Gov site.
There was no history of events and errors made in Centrelink calculations.
I did not receive a written apology, just a letter saying: ‘based on the information you have provided to us, we have decided there is no overpayment. This means there is no debt’, dated early Dec 2016.
Six weeks later, I received another demand letter for a debt and recovery fee.
Messages appeared on my mobile as URGENT from debt collection agencies. Callers rang me, requesting personal details, before explaining exactly why I was being contacted.
I refused and asked what the debt was. One caller told me it was ‘taxation’.
I am still fighting this battle.
It’s making me very stressed, and has affected my health.
I spent two hours on the phone to Centrelink today.
Centrelink letters now indicate I owe $740, for the same period of time that was waived two years ago.
I’m hanging in there.
It’s no longer just about me.
I hate to say it, but callously.