Canterbury earthquake victims struggling with mortgage and credit card repayments should use consumer legislation to get help, says the Commerce Commission.
The commission says the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act allows people to ask for a variation of their repayment obligations on the grounds of hardship.
Spokesperson Graham Gill says using the act may give people temporary relief if they have lost their jobs or had their work hours cut because of the quake.
Mr Gill says the act may also cover the costs of temporary accommodation while damaged homes are fixed.
He says people must must be up to date with repayments at the time the application is made in order for the provisions of the act to apply.