Firstly I had a series of 'silent number' calls with a fuzzy message but heard "human services" and to press 1, which then went dead. After two of these I called Centrelink who had no messages on my file and suggested they were hoax calls and to ignore them. After another two I called again and eventually got put though to the Compliance Team who said there was a discrepancy between my tax return and income claimed.
This turned out to be as a result of my mistake in claiming my partner's net casual income rather than her gross income. There is no clear indication regarding gross or net figures when inputting those amounts. I went through the several weeks of my partner's pay slips over the phone and 'Mick' said there was only a slight mismatch that meant I owed about $290 and would receive a letter confirming this.
On 15 August I received a letter stating that I owed $695.04 so contacted them to ask for how they calculated that figure and to provide that in writing. I received their ADEX Debt Schedule with not one amount relating in any way to the pay slips I had provided over the phone and subsequently sent in.
I contacted the Compliance Team again and went through it all with 'Emma' who had no idea as to how the figures I was sent were arrived at as they made no sense to her either. She corrected the details in accordance with the pay slips and the amount I owed turned out to be $327.27 and that they owed me $168.97!
I asked for a record of those new calculations but was told it could not be provided and my part pension was adjusted incrementally for the oweed money and also their payment to me.
The initial contacts by phone were weird, confusing and unnecessary. The contact between the Compliance Team and the Centrelink staff seem to be either non existent or poor at best.
Issuing debts without any transparency as to how they are derived at is extraordinary and unfairly places the onus on the receiver to sort out. It is not communicated that a debt schedule is available on request. It is inappropriate not to receive an amended schedule after adjustments have been made.
Most of the staff I spoke to were pleasant and polite , however I did get some confusing and accusatory calls based on their mistaken information - they seemed to be in some sort of confusion and didn't like being aasked themselves about such things as how and when will any payments or adjustments be made. Once I received an unpleasant accusatory toned conversation from a 'David' in Compliance based on a suspicion that I had more to reveal.
The whole system is badly managed and punitively run based on an attitude that we are scammers and all accountability is entirely one sided.