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Help if you can’t pay your phone or internet bill

If you can't pay your phone or internet bill on time, tell your telco as soon as you can. They can help you manage your payments and stay connected.

Finding it hard to pay bills can happen to anyone at any time. It may be because you are or have been:

  • unwell
  • unemployed
  • experiencing domestic or family violence
  • affected by change in personal or family circumstances, including death of a family member
  • on a low or reduced income 
  • affected by unexpected events or changes to your income or expenses
  • affected by a natural disaster
  • unable to pay your bill for other reasons.

Payment difficulties can be short term or long term.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties for any of these reasons, you may be considered a financial hardship customer. Your telco must tell you about their payment assistance policy and discuss options to help you. They must try to keep you connected.

What your telco must help you with

Ask your telco for help. Your telco must give you information and advice to:

  • help manage your payments
  • keep your service connected.

Telcos must:

  • have a clear and easy to understand payment assistance policy on their website and app 
  • offer you options to help – see below
  • focus on keeping you connected
  • tell you the outcome of a financial hardship application within 2 business days.
If you need free financial counselling or urgent help, see the MoneySmart website.

Managing payments and keeping you connected

Your telco’s payment assistance policy sets out the options they can give you to help.

Accessing assistance

Ask your telco for help. 

You are eligible for assistance from your telco if you are in financial hardship and you want to use one of your telco's options for assistance.  

You can find information about your telco’s payment assistance policy on your telco’s website, or by contacting them. 

Your options

Your telco must offer at least 6 different options for assistance. They must take your circumstances into account, including your ability to pay, and offer you options that are realistic.

Your telco must offer:

  • to postpone, extend or defer the due date for your bill
  • a payment plan tailored to meet your ability to pay.

They may also provide options to:

  • waive all or part of your bill 
  • discount your bill
  • offer you a free non-automatic payment method
  • transfer you to a different product that better suits your needs and budget
  • put spend controls on your plan.

It does not matter if you have short-term or long-term difficulties, your telco must offer to help you.

Complaining to your telco

If you make a complaint to your telco, they must treat it as urgent if:

  • you have applied for help under their payment assistance policy
  • what your complaint is about contributes to your financial difficulties
  • disconnection is about to happen
  • you are a priority assistance customer using a priority assistance service.

Your telco must resolve your urgent complaint before they can take action on any disputed amounts.

More information

Your telco must follow the rules on financial hardship in the:

If you need free financial counselling or urgent help, see the MoneySmart website.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman also has some tips on its website.

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