‘I’m being made out to be a criminal’: Woman is forced to pay Centrelink $8,000 over debts from NINE YEARS ago – and insists she doesn’t owe a cent
- Devi Barker contacted by debt collectors saying demanding she pay back debt
- They said she owed $7,616.05 but she is adamant she does not owe them a cent
- Ms Barker’s debts dated back from between 2010 to 2012 – nine years ago
- ‘I’m being made out to be a criminal,’ Ms Barker said about Centrelink
A woman who is being forced to pay Centrelink nearly $8,000 in alleged debts from nine years ago insists she doesn’t owe a cent.
Devi Barker home in Hobart when she was contacted by debt collectors saying she owed $7,616.05 – and demanded she make a full repayment with interest.
‘They were demanding that I make payment. I felt quite stressed, especially when they said that … my wages would be deducted, and that I wouldn’t be able to leave the country,’ Ms Barker told 7.30.
Devi Barker was back at home in Hobart when she was contacted by debt collectors saying she owed $7,616.05
Her debts dated back from between 2010 to 2012 but she is adamant that she reported the correct income.
But to prove she is right is proving more of a struggle.
She tried to get her bank statements, but was told they are not held for longer than seven years.
‘I’m being made out to be a criminal,’ she said.
‘It’s extremely stressful and especially when you can’t prove that you don’t have any debt. You have no power, and yet they’re still pursuing the debts.’
Following a review of the system, the Department of Human Services no longer raises debts dating back to this period.
The Department of Human Services is currently in a legal battle after Victoria Legal Aid launched two federal court cases challenging the authenticity of automated debts (stock)
The Department of Human Services is currently in a legal battle after Victoria Legal Aid launched two federal court cases challenging the authenticity of automated debts.
The second case was filed in June this year after the debt of one of their clients was successfully wiped.
Victoria Legal Aid executive director Rowan McRae told the program that they’re pushing to see if the debt collecting scheme is or isn’t lawful.
‘Many people will be watching these cases with much interest to see what implications they may have for their own robo-debts,’ she said.
Shocking figures from the Senate Estimates in March 2019 reveal there were 444,989 robo-debts launched from July 2016 to December 2018.