Financial Hardship Policy
This document will explain the options available to “consumer” customers with Westnet who are experiencing genuine Financial Hardship.
If you have been affected by a Natural Disaster such as fire or flood, our Natural Disaster Support is also available to you.
Select one of the links below to jump to a query:
- We are here to help
- Definition of Financial Hardship
- Westnet Credit Team
- Identification of a Customer Experiencing Financial Hardship
- Options for Assistance
- How long will the assessment take?
- Communication of Financial Hardship arrangements
- Other Financial Support Services
- NEW SOUTH WALES
- SOUTH AUSTRALIA
- WESTERN AUSTRALIA
- NORTHERN TERRITORY
- Contact us
- Your privacy is our priority
We are here to help
We will work with you to help you respond to financial difficulty, whether temporary or long-term. We are committed to helping customers facing financial hardship maintain telecommunications access and working with you to find a sustainable solution. Any help we can give will depend on your individual circumstances, and we provide help on a case-by-case basis. We will not charge you for this service.
Definition of Financial Hardship
Westnet defines financial hardship as a situation where:
- a customer is unable because of illness, unemployment, being the victim of domestic or family violence, or other reasonable cause, to discharge their financial obligations under their contract with the supplier; and
- the customer believes that they are able to discharge those obligations if payment and/or service arrangements were changed.
Financial hardship can be temporary or ongoing.
Westnet Credit Team
In times of genuine hardship, we understand that customers and/or their financial counsellor deserve easy access to empathetic and skilled staff. Westnet will endeavour to provide this service by training all Credit staff to correctly identify customers who are dealing with financial hardship.
At Westnet, we expect our Credit Team to act with compassion and sympathy, whilst still managing to meet business requirements. The Credit Team is also required to accept reasonable payment arrangements, taking into account each customer’s individual circumstances.
You can submit an online enquiry in the ‘Contact us’ section below and our Credit Team will contact you to discuss your situation.
Identification of a Customer Experiencing Financial Hardship
If you request, we will assess your eligibility for financial hardship assistance.
Westnet considers financial hardship to be a state that involves a customer’s inability to pay bills, rather than an unwillingness to do so. Customer hardship can arise from a variety of situations and can be either temporary or ongoing.
Common causes of financial hardship include:
- Loss of employment by the consumer customer or family member
- Family breakdown
- Illness including physical incapacity, hospitalisation, or mental illness of the customer or family member
- A death in the family
- Being a victim of domestic or family violence
- Natural Disaster
- Loss of employment / financial impacts associated with COVID-19
- Other reasonable cause adversely affecting your ability to pay us for services.
We will assess your application for financial assistance against this Financial Hardship Policy based on the information available to us and will request any information we may need from you to help us understand your individual circumstances. We will only seek information from you that is relevant to the assessment and is not unduly onerous. If you don’t provide us with the relevant information we request, an assessment may not be made. If you provide false or incomplete information, this may result in the cancellation of any hardship arrangements we agree to.
Options for Assistance
Once we have assessed your specific circumstances, we will consider the options available to us to assist you in the management of your financial hardship, as it relates to the services we supply to you.
In addition to having extra time to pay your invoice, we will also have, depending on your circumstances, the following options available:
Options to help you stay connected:
- apply appropriate spend controls
- apply restrictions on some or all of your services, for example:
- restricting your telephone to local calls only;
- reducing spend allowance on mobile phone and/or data plans to stop you exceeding your pre paid monthly quota by an undesired amount;
- removing access to apply for new products and services; or
- suspending use of some or all of your services.
- transfer you to a pre-paid service.
Options for suitable financial arrangements:
- temporary postponement or deferral of payments
- an alternative payment arrangement that meet the following criteria:
- Repayments 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).
- The arrangement should provide a continued reduction of debt at a reasonable level (i.e. the customer should not be going into future debt under the arrangement).
- Discounting or waiver of debt or certain fees.
How long will the assessment take?
Your assessment will be reviewed by our empathetic and skilled Credit Team within 5 business days.
Communication of Financial Hardship arrangements
If, following assessment of your application, we decide that assistance will not be given because your circumstances do not meet the criteria set out in this Financial Hardship Policy, we will immediately inform you of this decision.
If we agree to a Financial Hardship arrangement, we will, within 5 business days of that agreement, inform you of rights and obligations under that arrangement and its duration or review date (as applicable). If requested by you, we will send you details of your Financial Hardship arrangement in writing. A Financial Hardship arrangement will not commence unless you have accepted the arrangement.
If your circumstances change during the term of your Financial Hardship arrangement or credit management arrangements, you have an obligation to promptly inform us of such changes. We will review your arrangement accordingly.
Other Financial Support Services
There are also a range of other financial support services available such as free financial counselling services offered in each state and territory in Australia. The following organisations are in no way affiliated with Westnet, but might be the help you need.
Consumer Action Law Centre: 03 9629 6300
Legal advice for the public: 03 9629 6300 / 1800 466 477
Legal advice for consumer caseworkers: 03 9602 3326
National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 007
NEW SOUTH WALES
Financial Rights Legal Centre Credit and Debt Hotline: 1800 007 007
Financial Counsellors' Association of New South Wales: 1300 914 408
Care Financial Counselling Service: 02 6257 1788
Salvation Army Financial Counselling: 02 6247 3635
Lifeline gambling and financial counselling: 02 6247 0655
Uniting Country SA 1300 067 777
South Australian Community Legal Centres: 08 8281 6911
South Australian Financial Counsellors Association
Relationships Australia (SA)
Financial Counselling Hotline: 1800 007 007
Consumer Credit Legal Service: 08 9221 7066
Financial Counsellors Association of Western Australia: 08 9325 1617
Anglicare Financial Counselling Service: 1800 243 232
Hobart Community Legal Service: 03 6223 2500
Relationships Australia Tasmania: 1300 364 277
Financial Counsellors Association of Queensland: 1800 007 007
Financial Counselling Hotline: 1800 007 007
Somerville Community Services
Darwin 08 8920 4100
Katherine 08 8972 5100
Palmerston Financial Counselling Centre 08 89316200
Anglicare NT Financial Counselling
Ludmilla Head Office: 08 8985 0000
Katherine Financial Counselling Service: 08 8963 6100
Nhulunbuy Financial Counselling Service: 08 8939 3400
Alice Springs Financial Counselling Service: 08 8951 8000
Tangentyere Council Financial Counselling Service
Telephone 08 8951 4257
Alternatively, visit financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au for more information.
For more information on our Financial Hardship Policy, please make an online enquiry and we will contact you with assistance options.
While enquiries may be submitted at any time, our Credit Team operates from 8AM-10PM Mon-Fri, 8AM-6PM Sat-Sun (AET).
Alternatively, you can call us on 1300 855 006.
If you wish to make a complaint about or seek a review of the outcome of your Financial Hardship Application, please refer to our Complaint Handling Policy. This policy sets out how you can lodge a complaint, how the complaint will be handled and how it can be escalated.
Your privacy is our priority
If you are facing financial difficulties you may be required to provide some sensitive information, this may include:
- Employment information
- Income details (including any government assistance)
- Debt statements (Bills)
Our staff are experienced in treating matters of financial hardship with understanding and sensitivity, and your privacy will remain our utmost concern. All information will be kept confidential and in accordance with the privacy provisions of the Privacy Act 1988.