Dealing with it

Anyone who’s read this site for any period knows that I’ve had challenges. They’re not as great now as they once were, but they remain significant. I do my best managing them, but at the very best I can do no better – currently – than fight out a draw. I don’t go on about the specifics here much because, well, I don’t like to dwell on it too much, and because I feel I’m grizzling. I’m not. It is what it is, but it bears recording if this is to be any kind of true record.

I’ve had my wins over the journey. For years the ATO were after many thousands of dollars from me – over $40K. We battled by lengthy email, over the phone, and in court. I managed a stay of execution a couple of times, and at best battled them to a stalemate. The last real correspondence I had from there was basically along the lines of ok, you owe us, but we won’t chase you for the debt. It was an acknowledgement of sorts of my circumstances. Where it stands now I’m not sure, but I’m breathing easier and I’m getting (modest) tax returns.

There was another mob claiming a debt from years ago. I disputed it – I was with another provider – and challenged them to put up or shut up. If I owe the money then prove it, and they’ve since gone quiet.

Then there was a very aggressive collection agency who tried to intimidate me into coughing up. That’s their modus operandi, but I don’t intimidate. I gave as good as I got. When they tried to serve a summons on me I went to the ombudsman. The notice was withdrawn. I have since challenged them through the ombudsman on a number of points – basically they did things they’re not supposed to do. I’m sure they’re the things they try on everyone, relying on people to submit out of fear and ignorance. I’m not sure the case is yet closed, but the ball is in their court and it’s 3 months since they responded.

They’re the (perhaps temporary) wins.

There remain serious obstacles. The level of debt I carry is still pretty substantial. Fortunately some of my creditors are more reasonable and have backed off in recognition of my circumstances. They won’t forever.

I owe money to friends also, and nothing weighs on me more heavily than that. My first priority is to repay them, and I must do that if I am to feel any peace.

Then there are more practical, current issues.

I got a robodebt call from Centrelink last week for payments dating back nearly 3 years. I’m obliged to prove to them why I don’t owe them, which is near impossible given the time elapsed. The whole think is shonky, and the episode reflects very badly on an Australian government who should be serving its people.

Then there’s my car rego. I was invoiced and paid it at the concession rate last May. Turns out Centrelink told VicRoads I wasn’t entitled to the concession and so VicRoads suspended my registration because it was short paid. This was back in August.

Problem is they never advised me of this. And when in March I checked my rego renewal date online everything appeared normal. In April, however, I received a notice from VicRoads stating I wouldn’t be receiving a renewal notice because of the short payment.

Naturally I called them immediately for an explanation, then requested an investigation of the circumstances (which has since disappeared). Bottom line was that if I wanted to drive my car I had to pay last year’s shortfall ($465 – I’d been driving unregistered without knowing it), plus this year’s renewal amount ($787). I earn barely enough just to get by week to week, and certainly not enough to accumulate the funds to pay all of this. In other words, without a windfall, it’s impossible. To complicate it further if I don’t pay by August 1 then my car becomes de-registered.

In a way it’s academic. My car badly needs a service and has oil pressure issues which make driving inadvisable.

There are sundry other issues and mounting hills I don’t want to think about, not to mention the penalties I had a community legal service mismanage on my behalf.

You understand why I don’t like thinking about these things, let alone writing of them. It’s just so bleak and it seems sometimes I’m in a hole I can never get out of. It’s easier to push it to one side and just get on with things, trusting that I can make it work. Just deal with it – but that means deals I have to make.


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