FINANCIAL HARDSHIP POLICY
Our Definition of Financial Hardship
The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code 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:
- Loss of employment by the consumer or family member.
- Family breakdown.
- Illness including physical incapacity, hospitalisation, or mental illness of the consumer or family member.
- A death in the family.
- Heavy use of the service by customer (eg. from use of 190X numbers, GPRS or data roaming).
- Use of the service by a third party leaving the customer unable to pay the account.
- Natural Disaster.
We encourage you to contact us if you experience any difficulties paying our services. Please contact us by calling 1300-1- IPHUB (47482) if you would like to discuss any Financial Hardship matters with us. You can do so from 9 am to 5 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.
When assessing your eligibility for Financial Hardship, we may ask you to provide certain documents such as
- A statutory declaration or official written communication from a person or support group that is familiar with your circumstances,
- Evidence that you consulted a recognised financial counsellor,
- A statement of your financial position.
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, 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.
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.
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.
Finding a financial counselor:
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.
Alternatively, you can find the financial counselling service nearest to you by visiting http://www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au/Corporate/Find-a-Counsellor.