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Financial Hardship Policy

Financial hardship occurs when a customer is unable to meet their contractual obligation to pay their bills due to:

  1. Unexpected illness
  2. Unexpected unemployment
  3. An unexpected and recent death in the family

Financial hardship does not automatically occur due to an inability of a customer to pay their bills or simply electing not to pay their bills.

A customer who wishes to apply for assistance under our financial hardship policy must do so as soon as practiable or no more than 14 days since their most recent liability has fallen overdue. Applications subsequent to this period must show that the customer did not reasonably expect the hardship to occur or was reasonably unable to make the application arising from events such as hospitilisation, etc.

You can apply for financial hardship assistance by sending an email or contacting our customer service department by phone and explain your situation.

A. Determining Financial Hardship

When deciding if a customer is facing financial hardship, we may seek evidence such as:

  1. Demonstration that the customer was not aware of the hardship or likely occurrence of the hardship prior to the charges being accrued
  2. A statutory declaration from you describing the circumstances
  3. A statutory declaration from a person familiar with the customers circumstances (doctor, financial counsellor, clergy, bank officer, etc)
  4. Evidence of the customer having consulted with a recognised financial counsellor
  5. Demonstration that the customer has been denied a raise in their credit limit or overdraft from their bank or credit provider (if paying by credit card or direct deposit respectively)

B. Outcomes of Determinaton

Example likely outcomes of considering a customer's financial hardship application include:

  1. Provision for the customer to pay for the current debit in installments over a period of suitable for both parties;
  2. Provision of assistance to the customer in order to select the product or service best suited to their budget;
  3. Provision of additional time to pay for the debt before or after to service termination;
  4. Delay of the debt being referred to a debt collection agency; or
  5. Prevention of access to additional services or additional limits on current services reducing the liklihood to accrue further charges

Based upon the information provided, we will then propose a financial hardship arrangement for you to accept which we believe will best suit the needs of both parties.

C. Acceptance of Arrangement

A proposed financial hardship arrangement has no effect unless and until you accept it. If you do not accept a proposed arrangement within 10 days, it is no longer open for acceptance. (But if you do not accept in that time for good reason, we will not unreasonably refuse to extend the proposal.)

We will give you written information about the proposed financial hardship arrangement but only if you specifically ask for it.

You, and we must comply with the agreed financial hardship arrangement. You must promptly advise us if your circumstances change and if this will have a material affect on the financial hardship arrangement.

D. Need more help and guidance?

Information on reducing or controlling your spend is available here.

A variety of services are available to assist people suffering financial hardship. For example, Financial Counselling Australia. Financial hardship can sometimes cause or increase distress. If you are finding it difficult to cope and are in need of support and assistance for your mental health, please contact Beyond Blue or your nearest general practicioner.