FAQs: Legal action
What is a complaint?
A complaint is where legal proceedings are commenced against you to recover an outstanding debt. This incurs costs that are payable by you.
- What to do when you are served with the complaint
To avoid further legal action, you need to call ML+C to discuss to making a payment in full or arrange a repayment plan.
- Can a complaint be served to someone else or does it have to be served to me directly?
The Magistrate Court Rules states that the complaint can be served on you personally or on a person over the age of 16 years living at your address.
- Complaint or summons served by a sub-service by post, ad or notice
If our process server is unable serve you personally, we can apply to the court for an order for substituted service. This means we can serve the complaint or summons on you by post.If we have been unable to make contact with you or anyone at the address, we can apply for an order for sub-service. This means we place an advertisement in The Age newspaper for two consecutive Wednesdays, which states legal action has been issued against you and you need to contact ML+C. We also place the same notice on your door or fence to notify you that legal action has been issued to recover a debt against you. Once you receive this notice, you should contact our office to discuss payment options.
What is an order?
An ‘order’ is a direction given by a court requiring a person to do (or not do) something, such as paying an amount of debt owed.
Twenty-one days after a complaint is served, we make an application to the court and supply an Affidavit of Service. An order for payment is then issued by the court for the amount owing, interest accumulated on the debt and legal costs incurred.
What does an order mean for me?
An order will be listed on your personal or company credit file. This may create difficulty obtaining a loan or credit card, as some financial institutions will not provide you with funds while an order is in place.
Even if you make an arrangement to pay the debt off, the credit agency will not be advised until the amount is paid in full.
If you pay the amount in full, we can provide you with a letter of consent and Minutes of Consent Order for you to take to the court to make an application to have the order set aside. The court will then issue a notice, which you can send onto the credit agency to remove the order notification from your credit file.
What is a summons to attend for oral examination
If you have been served with a summons for oral examination, you are required to attend court on the date and time specified on the summons The hearing takes approximately 30 minutes, which is conducted by a Registrar of the Court. You will need to answer questions about your ability to pay the debt owed and will have the opportunity to offer a repayment arrangement. Following the hearing, the Court will send us a report stating if this offer has been accepted. From here, we will be in contact with you.
If you do not attend court on the specified date, we will ask the court to issue a warrant for your arrest. This requires the police to visit you and inform your next hearing date and time. If you do not attend several times, the police can arrest you and take you to the nearest police station where you will be asked to provide a bond to ensure you attend the next hearing date.
We do not accept repayment arrangements prior to the hearing. However, if you wish to avoid attending the hearing, you can pay the amount in full prior to the hearing date.
What is a warrant to seize property?
A ‘warrant to seize property’ is issued by the court and sent to the Sheriff’s Office, who will attend your address to see if there are any goods to be seized, such as a car or boat.
If you pay the total amount owed, your goods will not be seized or sold.
What is a field call?
A field call is often used by a creditor as an alternative to legal action. An agent attends your address to ask questions about your financial ability to repay the debt owing. They will provide you with a payslip so you can pay the amount in full. They will also give you our contact details if you wish to make an arrangement to repay the debt.
What is a mortgagee letter?
This is a letter sent to your bank that holds your mortgage. It advises them of the amount you owe for rates and that an Order has been obtained. It asks if the bank is able to pay the debt owing or if the bank is taking action in relation to the mortgage. The bank will respond that they are not able to pay the rates, will pay the rates owed or are taking action to repossess the property. The bank will contact you to discuss the debt owed and if it will pay the debt owed. If the bank does this, they will increase your mortgage by the amount it pays.