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Help with phone or internet disconnection

What you can do if your telco cuts off your phone or internet service.

When your phone or internet service might be cut off

Your telco might suspend, restrict or disconnect your phone or internet service for several reasons. These can include if:

  • you have not been paying your phone or internet bills
  • you have gone past the ‘fair use’ limit in your plan
  • they think your account has been used illegally
  • you haven’t followed an agreed financial hardship arrangement.

Find out more about financial hardship and what you can do.

Your telco will give you notice

Telcos must tell you at least 5 working days before they restrict, suspend or disconnect your service.

They don’t have to tell you if either:

  • you have been disconnected because you have gone past any ‘fair use’ limit in your plan
  • they think your account has been used illegally.

If you receive a disconnection notice it will explain:

  • how much you need to pay
  • how you can pay
  • any other ongoing or extra charges
  • their financial hardship policy
  • the impact on any other services you have with them
  • when they plan to disconnect your service.

If you are going to be cut off

If you are going to be disconnected, your telco must also tell you that:

  • your internet service plan, product and/or phone number will no longer be available
  • they may pass your unpaid debt to a debt collection agency or sell it to a third party
  • a credit reporting agency may list the debt on your file as a ‘non-payment default’
  • they may take legal action to get the money you owe.

What you can do

If you are in financial hardship and need help to pay your bill, you can ask your telco for help. If you are eligible for assistance, they will work with you to help you manage your payments and keep you connected.
If you need free financial counselling or urgent help, see the MoneySmart website.
  • Contact your telco immediately and tell them you need help to manage your payments. You may be able to stop being disconnected before the cut-off date.
  • If you don’t agree with your telco’s actions, contact them as soon as possible to make a complaint.
  • Your complaint will be treated as urgent if you are in financial hardship or are a landline customer with a priority assistance service.
  • If you are not happy with how your telco handles your complaint, ask them to review their decision. You will need to give them clear reasons why your complaint should be reviewed.
  • If you are still unhappy with the telco’s response, you can escalate your complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
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