So much frustration and anxiety.
I am lucky that mine was dealt with (mostly) in a short period of time but that is only due to my persistence.
It was keeping me up at night, making me wait around, constantly retelling the same story with no outcome.
I originally received communication that I had been overpaid over a year ago. As soon as you receive any information through MyGov, INSTANT STRESS.
I tried to upload the correct information online but filled part of it incorrectly, so i asked for the information to be reset so i could complete it correctly.
The person i spoke with reset it and advised I would be able to resubmit my information. I didn't hear anything else for over a year when i was clocked with a $2000 debt.
I called through and had my debt reassessed by going through old bank statements. It took over an hour and reduced my debt to $1500.
No apology but caller advised before my reassessment that in some cases peoples debts increase, they were clearly trying to deter me.
During my reassessment, I asked for evidence (called an ADEX) to be sent out along with my new debt amount so that I could look over the information and understand where i had gone wrong.
The staff member said that they would send this information out (early June). I called back a week later as no ADEX had arrived, the staff member asked me to wait as it had to be approved before being sent out and had been sent out after a fortnight. I called back a third time as no ADEX had arrived after 3 weeks, and was once again told to wait as it was in the mail.
When my ADEX did arrive the following week, it was dated the day before my last call, so the first 2 staff members had told me the incorrect information.
When it arrived, it had gaps with no evidence and columns were completely blank. No one had even checked over it to see that it was correct.
I called and asked for a correct and complete ADEX to be sent out. The lady I spoke to said she could do it that day (so there was no approval required for the original ADEX???).
I also asked for an appeal as I was so frustrated with how the staff had handled the incident.
During this call, the centrelink staff said that they know the robodebts are incorrect and that it is up to those with the debts to call in and get the correct debt amount, then that amount is correct because it has been looked over by a human.
She started my appeal process and sent out the adex, but when it arrived it was for the original $2000 debt and STILL had blanks.
A week later I received a call saying that my debt was looked over again as part of the appeal and there had been some errors but they were very small so the outcome was the same ($1500). I asked about the blanks on the adex and the lady couldn't help me, she said she would put it to someone else who would have to look over it.
The next day I receive another call, this man has looked over the debt again and wanted to talk to me about it. I said that my main issue is that there is no evidence that is consistent to support their debt claims. This man brought up the ADEX and looked over it, I pointed out all the blanks and he said he would look through it and call me back.
Finally, someone had listened to me.
He called back and said that as the ADEX is formulated by a computer, there was errors in it.
This brought my debt down to $600. It took the debt down from 4 years of over payments down to a few weeks.
I am currently waiting on the new ADEX and once that arrives, I will decide on if I fight it any further.
This is not good enough. When staff members continuously don't do their jobs correctly, it puts the pressure on those with the debt.
I don't mind paying back what I was overpaid but don't try and make me pay 3 times the debt.
Don't lie and say evidence is in the mail when it isn't.
The whole thing has been unprofessional and I am one one the lucky ones.
These debts are targeted to the poorest Australians.
Centrelink knows the stats of how many are incorrect and yet they are still sending them out.