The words debt and dispute start with the same letter and are often written in the same sentence. Yet when you believe you are owed a debt, there may be a debtor giving every excuse in the book not to pay.

When it comes to the disputed and unpaid debts, what is the difference and what are the consequences of each?

The easiest way to refer to this is that disputed debts can’t be collected, but late payments or unpaid payments can be chased.

If your debtor disputes that they owe a debt, there are certain steps they need to follow to prove this.

Firstly, they need to communicate they dispute the debt – either to your business or your debt collection agency if you have one. It needs to be in writing.

If the debt is $30,000 or less, they can take a claim to the Disputes Tribunal, and ask them to make an order that they don’t owe the disputed amount.