Financial Hardship Policy

Financial Hardship Policy

Our Definition of Financial Hardship

We use a recognized definition of financial hardship. The ACIF Credit Management Code defines financial hardship as: “a situation where a Customer is unable, reasonably, because of illness, unemployment or other reasonable cause, to discharge their financial obligations under their contract with the Supplier and the Customer reasonably expects to be able to discharge those obligations if payment and/or Service arrangements were changed. Financial hardship can be of limited or long term duration.”

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.

How we Identify Financial Hardship

We consider financial hardship a state that involves an ongoing real inability of the customer to pay bills, rather than an unwillingness to do so. In order for Us to apply this policy you must satisfy Us that you are experiencing financial hardship in the meaning of the above definition. The decision of whether you are experiencing financial hardship for the purpose of this policy will be made by Us, in Our sole discretion.

We encourage you to provide us with third party evidence, such as a report from a financial counsellor, or a bank, or Centrelink, to confirm the details of your financial hardship.

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 via Appointment of Authorised Representative to speak with the Counsellor on their behalf.

If the amounts in question are disputed, you will need to resolve the issue through the complaints policy listed here: Compliance

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.

Information we will require to access your application

1. Your account details
2. Details of which Simple Telecom invoices your experiencing hardship with
3. What is the cause of the difficulty
4. Evidence supporting the reasons you have stated which makes you unable to meet your financial obligations.
5. Details of professional assistance your receiving to help manage your situation.

Making a Decision and Reaching a Financial Arrangement

Once all the required paperwork (mentioned above) is received by Us from you, allow Us 7 business days to come to a decision regarding your claim for hardship. You will be notified by Us by email of the decision regardless of the outcome.

A decision cannot be made by Us regarding your hardship claim without all requested documentation.

If the decision agrees with you, that you are experiencing Financial Hardship, We may at our discretion agree to a temporary financial arrangement which is different to the terms which ordinarily apply to You.

The basic principle of any agreed financial arrangement for Financial Hardship is that the repayment made by You should be sufficient to cover expected future use of the service (as adjusted to ensure the customer’s financial position does not worsen over a reasonable period of time) as well as providing continued reduction of debt at a reasonable level (i.e. the customer should not be going into further debt under the arrangement).

WE offer options to keep you connected

(i)Spend controls;
(ii)Restriction of service, in respect of overall or specific services;
(iii)Transferring to a Pre-Paid Service;

Options for suitable financial arrangements

(i)Temporarily postponing or deferring payments (for a longer period than would typically be offered to Customers requesting an extension outside of Financial Hardship arrangements);
(ii)Agreeing on an alternative arrangement, plan, or contract, including discussing Pre-Paid Services;
(iii)Discounting or waiving of debt;
(iv)Waiving late payment fees;

Contact Details

You can contact the Financial Hardship team between 9am and 5pm to discuss any aspect of your hardship:

Phone: 1300 858 751
Phone: +617 3123 6322
Fax: 1300 858 752
Mail: PO Box 10, Coolum Beach QLD 4573

Local Community Financial Counsellor or Consumer Advocate

We recommend anyone applying for financial hardship to get professional assistance. We recommend:

QLD Financial Counselling Services of QLD (07) 3257 1957
NSW Credit and Debt Hotline 1800 808 488
ACT Care Financial Counselling (02) 6257 1788
VIC Consumer Credit Legal Service (03) 9602 3800
TAS Anglicare Financial Counselling 1800 243 232
SA Uniting Communities Financial Counselling (08) 8202 5180
WA Financial Counsellors Resource Project (08) 9221 9411
NT Anglicare Financial Counselling (08) 8985 0000