Steps to take before making an application for assistance

We encourage you to try and resolve your dispute directly with the other party prior to submitting an application for assistance with the VSBC. If you are unable to recover your debts or resolve your dispute after these steps, we request that you include documentation of the attempts that you have made with your application.

It is important to avoid behaviour that is threatening, inappropriate or illegal when pursuing debts and we recommend reviewing this list from Consumer Affairs Victoria on banned practices for debt collection.

If you are a creditor owed money, or a debtor who disputes the claim, the key things to remember are to:

  • keep your communication about the debt in writing; and
  • maintain a calm and professional tone.

Step One | First payment reminder

Does the other party have a good understanding of what is in dispute, what they owe and why?

Locate the original agreement between you and the other business that outlines the contractual terms agreed. If an official contract was not entered into, you may have records of an email exchange between the parties.

Refer to this agreement – when it was signed and what was agreed – in a reminder email to the other party including a copy of any invoice (if relevant).

Invoices should be clear and easy to understand with details on:

  • what the invoice is for;
  • when the work was done and/or product supplied; and
  • how and when the invoice is to be paid.

Step Two | Follow up

If the debtor does not respond or make payment within the time specified, follow up via email and direct mail requesting immediate payment.

Step Three | Letter of Demand

If the debtor fails to pay the invoice or otherwise respond to the claim by the required time you may decide to send a formal letter of demand advising that you will be referring the matter to us.

We have prepared a draft letter of demand that you can access here.

If you are unable to recover your debts or resolve your dispute after these steps, we request that you include documentation of the attempts that you have made with your application.

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