Our Definition of Financial Hardship
The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code C628:2015 defines Financial Hardship as a situation where a customer is unable to discharge of the financial obligations in relation to our services but where the customer expects to be able to do so over time if payment arrangements are changed.
Customer hardship can arise from a variety of situations. Hardship can be either of limited duration or long term. To illustrate, several of the common causes are listed below.
Hardship can result from a number of factors including:
Identifying a Customer Experiencing Financial Hardship
We consider financial hardship a state that involves an ongoing real inability of the customer to pay bills, rather than an unwillingness to do so.
In order for us to apply this policy you must satisfy Us that you are experiencing financial hardship in the meaning of the above definition. The decision of whether you are experiencing financial hardship for the purpose of this policy will be made by Us, in Our sole discretion.
We encourage you to provide us with third party evidence, such as a report from a financial counsellor, or a bank, or Centrelink, to confirm the details of your financial hardship.
If you are experiencing financial hardship, there are a number of organisations which provide free counselling and assistance. To find a financial counsellor in your area visit www.fcan.com.au.
You may ask us to deal with a Financial Counsellor on Your behalf. In order for Us to speak to a Financial Counsellor, the customer must be present, or we must have received prior authority from the customer to speak with the Counsellor on their behalf. Please contact us for further information.
Customers who have chosen to transfer all of their services to another provider but still have an outstanding balance with Us are ineligible for participation in Our Financial Hardship Program.
Reaching a Financial Arrangement
Once we agree You are experiencing Financial Hardship, We may at our discretion agree to a temporary financial arrangement which is different to the terms which ordinarily apply to You.
The basic principle of any agreed financial arrangement for Financial Hardship is that the repayment made by You should be sufficient to cover expected future use of the service (as adjusted to ensure the customer's financial position does not worsen over a reasonable period of time) as well as providing continued reduction of debt at a reasonable level (i.e. the customer should not be going into further debt under the arrangement).
When assessing your eligibility for Financial Hardship, we may ask you to provide certain documents such as
We may not be able to make an assessment of your circumstances if you do not provide us with the requested information. We may use the information you provide as well as other information available to us. Once we received all required information, we will let you know within 7 working days whether you are eligible for assistance under our Financial Hardship Policy.
If you are eligible, we will work with you to come to an arrangement that allows you to pay your outstanding charges in a way that does not worsen your financial position. Where appropriate we will discuss means with you how to limit your spend (this may include barring some service features) during the time of our arrangement and thereafter.
Once we come to an agreement we will put this in writing via letter or email to you. You must inform us if your circumstances change (for better or for worse) during our arrangement.
We will not charge you for assessing your Financial Hardship circumstances or for administering the matter.
We encourage you to contact us if you experience any difficulties paying our services. Please contact us by calling 1300 411 869 if you would like to discuss any Financial Hardship matters with us. You can do so from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.
Finding a financial counsellor:
You can talk to a phone financial counsellor from anywhere in Australia by ringing 1800 007 007 (minimum opening hours are 9.30 am – 4.30 pm Monday to Friday). This number will automatically switch through to the service in the State or Territory closest to you.
Consumer Action Law Centre: 03 9629 6300
Legal advice for the public: 03 9629 6300 / 1800 466 477
Legal advice for consumer caseworkers: 03 9602 3326
MoneyHelp: 1800 007 007
Not-for-profit Victorian Government service providing free, confidential financial counselling for Victorians experiencing job loss or reduced working hours.
Financial Rights Legal Centre Credit and Debt Hotline: 1800 007 007
Financial Counsellors' Association of New South Wales: 1300 914 408
Care Financial Counselling Service: 02 6257 1788
Salvation Army Financial Counselling: 02 6247 3635
Lifeline gambling and financial counselling: 02 6247 0655
Uniting Country SA 1300 067 777
South Australian Community Legal Centres: 08 8281 6911
South Australian Financial Counsellors Association
Relationships Australia (SA)
Financial Counselling Hotline: 1800 007 007
Consumer Credit Legal Service: 08 9221 7066
Financial Counsellors Association of Western Australia: 08 9325 1617
Anglicare Financial Counselling Service: 1800 243 232
Hobart Community Legal Service: 03 6223 2500
Relationships Australia Tasmania: 1300 364 277
Financial Counsellors Association of Queensland: 1800 007 007
Financial Counselling Hotline: 1800 007 007
Somerville Community Services
Darwin 08 8920 4100
Katherine 08 8972 5100
Palmerston Financial Counselling Centre 08 89316200
Anglicare NT Financial Counselling
Ludmilla Head Office: 08 8985 0000
Katherine Financial Counselling Service: 08 8963 6100
Nhulunbuy Financial Counselling Service: 08 8939 3400
Alice Springs Financial Counselling Service: 08 8951 8000
Tangentyere Council Financial Counselling Service
Telephone 08 8951 4257
Alternatively, you can find the financial counselling service nearest to you by visiting Financial Counselling Australia.