We don't live in a perfect world and, because of that, nobody can guarantee that a debt will be paid. Australian law also tends to be overly sympathetic to debtors.
The most common problem is that the debtor cannot be found. In a country as free and open as Australia, it can be very difficult to locate a person who does not want to be found. Our privacy laws actually protect debtors who wish to abscond and they provide no formal mechanism for locating them, even after you have a Court judgment against them. We can arrange "skip tracing" of a missing debtor for a fee and have private investigators try and locate the debtor for you. For ease and convenience, we will usually refer you directly to the skip tracer.
Some debtor's are just so broke that they simply cannot pay. They will often go into bankruptcy ("liquidation" for companies) to seek relief from their debts. When this happens the liquidator's fees are paid first, then secured creditors (such as banks holding mortgages) and, if there is anything left over, ordinary debtor's get paid. Bankruptcy often means "no payment". For this reason, we try to avoid bankruptcy and use it only where appropriate. If a debtor goes into bankruptcy (for an individual) or goes into adminstration or liquidation (for a company), they then become governed by Federal law. This overrides State debt collection laws. We are then required by the to cease all further action and you then have to hope and pray that the Federally appointed Bankruptcy trustee or company Liquidator is able to recover the money for you.
Some debtors will apply to the Court for permission to pay by instalments. There are no guidelines and very little authoritative law governing such applications. To make matters worse, the Courts give no special training or guidance to their officers about how to deal with such applications. As a result, some courts will allow debtors to repay a debt over a period of many years. While we have a right to challenge such orders, the realities are such that, in many circumstances, slow repayment may be the only realistic method of obtaining payment from a debtor who is genuinely "broke". To soften this blow, interest accrues on the debt while the repayments are being made. Court interest is simple reducible interest and is much lower than commerncial interest rates paid, for example, on overdraft accounts or credit cards.
The worst nightmare of a creditor is that the debtor will defend an action and win. In such circumstances the creditor will often be required to pay the debtor's costs. In actions for amounts of $10,000 or less, these costs are strictly limited to a few hundred dollars. We understand this concern on the part of creditors and will carefully weigh the risks of any defence and advise you appropriately before things have a chance of getting out of hand.