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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
  • they think your account has been used illegally
  • you haven’t met your agreed arrangement for financial hardship assistance.

Where you haven’t met an agreed arrangement for assistance, you have an option for review before the telco can take action to restrict, suspend or disconnect your service. 

Find out more about financial hardship and payment assistance to help keep you connected.

Customers experiencing financial hardship

If you are struggling to pay a bill for any of the following reasons you may be in financial hardship: 

  • 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.

If your telco knows that you’re experiencing financial hardship, they can only suspend or disconnect your service as a last resort.

Your telco will give you notice

They must tell you in writing at least 10 working days before taking any action to suspend or disconnect your service. They must tell you:

  • whether your service will be suspended or disconnected
  • when it is due to happen
  • why they are doing it
  • all the charges that may apply
  • how this will affect any other services you have with them
  • how you can contact them to ask questions; and
  • how to contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and financial counselling services.

Other customers

If you are not in financial difficulty, or you haven’t discussed financial hardship assistance with your telco, then your telco only has to tell you 5 working days before they restrict, suspend or disconnect your service. 

They don’t have to tell you if they think:

  • you or your account is an unacceptably high credit risk
  • your account has been used illegally.

If you receive a disconnection notice, it will explain:

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

What you can do

  • 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.

If you 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.

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