You can claim financial hardship if you are:
- experiencing domestic or family violence
- affected by a natural disaster
- unable to pay your bill for other reasons.
Your telco may ask you for information about your situation to find out if you can access their financial hardship program.
Help you can get
Entering a financial hardship program
You can ask your telco for help.
Tell them the reasons why you can’t pay your bill, or are in financial hardship. If you are eligible for assistance, they will work with you to help you manage your payments and keep you connected.
If you are eligible for your telco’s financial hardship program, your telco must give you options to:
- help manage your payments
- keep your service connected.
You can find information about your telco’s financial hardship policy on their website, or by contacting them.
Managing your payments
Your telco must, where possible, provide you with flexible payment options. These might be to:
- stop or delay your payments temporarily
- have an alternative plan or contract
- discount or waive fees on money you owe.
Keeping you connected
Your telco must keep you connected where possible. Some options might be to:
- put spend controls on your plan
- move you to a pre-paid or lower cost plan
- make temporary changes until you can resume your original payments.
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 financial hardship policy
- what your complaint is about contributes to your financial hardship
- 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.
Your telco must follow the rules on financial hardship in the:
- Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code
- Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints Handling) Industry Standard 2018
If you need free financial counselling or urgent help, see the MoneySmart website.
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman also has some tips on its website.