Policies

Financial Hardship Policy

Overview

This financial hardship policy is intended to assist customers who may experience financial hardship in relation to our goods and services.  This policy is applicable to current customers and former customers.

We are here to help.  We will endeavour to work with you to help you respond to financial difficulty, whether temporary or long-term, in relation to our goods and services.  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.

Should you be experiencing financial hardship in relation to our goods or services, you can contact us in the following ways:

  • by calling our customer service team during the hours of 8:00am to 5:30pm Sydney time on 1300677406
  • by e-mailing us at any time at info@centraltelecoms.com.au
  • by writing to us at any time at PO Box 147, Terrigal NSW 2260

You can also contact a community financial counsellor or consumer advocate who deal with financial difficulty matters.  You can talk to a phone financial counsellor or a consumer advocate who deals with financial difficulty matters from anywhere in Australia by ringing 1800 007 007 (minimum opening hours are 9.30 am – 4.30 pm Monday to Friday). Alternatively, you can find the financial counselling service nearest to you by visiting http://www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au/Corporate/Find-a-Counsellor.

The procedures and assistance set out in this policy are provided free of charge to our customers. 

In this policy, financial hardship means a situation where:

  • a customer is unable to discharge the financial obligations owed by the customer under their customer contract or otherwise discharge the financial obligations owed by the customer to us, due to illness, unemployment, being the victim of domestic or family violence, or other reasonable temporary or ongoing cause; and
  • the customer believes that they are able to discharge those obligations if the relevant payment arrangements or other arrangements relating to the supply of our goods or services are changed.

Options for assisting with financial hardship

We make the following options available to assist individual customers in cases of financial hardship.  We will choose which option is available to you, depending on what is most appropriate in the circumstances.

Options for keeping the customer connected:

  • spend controls;
  • restriction of service, in respect of overall or specific services;
  • transferring the customer to a contract which includes hard caps or shaping;
  • low cost interim options until the customer can continue with original payments.

Options for suitable financial arrangements:

  • temporarily postponing or deferring payments (for a longer period than would typically be offered to customers requesting an extension outside of financial hardship arrangements);
  • agreeing on an alternative arrangement, plan, or contract;
  • discounting or waiving of debt;
  • waiving late payment fees;
  • waiving cancellation fees.

Information we may require to make an assessment of financial hardship

We may require you to provide certain information so that we can make an assessment of financial hardship, for example income details, details regarding the relevant services (e.g. telephone number, broadband) and your most recent contact details. 

We will make an assessment of financial hardship having regard to your particular circumstances, the size and duration of the debt owing, how long you have been a customer, and any other circumstances we consider relevant.

Where it appears that the financial arrangement will need to be long term, or we consider the amount to be repaid large or significant, or you have not been a customer for very long, or we reasonably believe there is a possibility of fraud, we may need further or more detailed information from you.  Such information may include, for example:

  • a statutory declaration or official written communication from a person or support group that is familiar with your circumstances;
  • evidence that you consulted a recognised financial counsellor; and
  • a statement of your financial position.

You should also note that:

  • the assessment may be based on the information provided by you or other information available to us;
  • where the requested information is not provided, an assessment may not be made;
  • the provision of false or incomplete information may result in us cancelling any hardship arrangements; and
  • if the information provided by you is not sufficient to make an assessment of eligibility under the financial hardship policy, we will tell you what other information is needed to make such an assessment.

Notification of assessment

We will tell you how long it will take to make an assessment for assistance.  In any case, this will be within 5 working days after receipt of the final information from you. 

You may request that we give the details of a financial hardship arrangement to you in writing. 

You must promptly inform us if your circumstances change during the term of the financial hardship arrangement.

Suspension of credit management action

We will suspend credit management action whilst an arrangement under our financial hardship policy is being discussed or is in place unless:

  • you do not meet your obligations under the financial hardship arrangement. In that event, if you do not contact us to discuss a new arrangement, we will take reasonable steps to contact you before taking credit management action;
  • we decide it is reasonable to do so given the circumstances (e.g. to prevent a further increase in the debt owed);
  • you agree that the financial hardship arrangement is unable to be completed.

Complaints

Please note that our complaints handling policy may also be applicable, available at www.centraltelecoms.com.au, for example if you wish to seek review of the outcome of a financial hardship application.

 

Customer Commitment Policy

1. We’ll be open, honest and ethical when dealing with you and we will protect your privacy.

2. We’ll provide you with information on products and services that is accurate, relevant and written in plain English.

3. We work to resolve disputes quickly and fairly within a reasonable timeframe.

4. We promote our products and services in a clear, accurate and honest way.

5. We help disadvantaged and vulnerable customers in line with our customer policy of being a real, ethical Telco.

6. If we breach the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code, we will provide you with an effective remedy immediately.

 

Domestic Violence Policy

At Central Telecoms, we take the misuse of our services by domestic violence extremely seriously and will provide effective and tailored assistance to customers who need our support. Via technology, domestic violence can take many forms. These can include;

  • Monitoring phone calls, social media and emails without the knowledge and approval of someone
  • Loading spyware onto a computer or mobile phone in order to monitor a person without their knowledge
  • Using technology to track the location of someone, for the purposes of monitoring, control or stalking
  • Accessing accounts such as email, social media, or messaging to monitor or impersonate someone
  • Logging in (without permission) and closing services, thereby cutting someone off from contacts

All conversations are confidential 
Your safety and privacy will be our priority. None of the information you give us will be disclosed to anyone else, even if their name is on the account. For more information, read our Privacy Policy. 

Financial Hardship 
We will work with you to find a solution for your individual situation (payment plans etc). For more information on how we can help, have a look at our Financial Hardship Policy. 

We will hear you 
We will treat you with understanding, empathy and respect, and we will do everything we can to help while also complying with our industry guidelines. We can put you in touch or refer you to organisations that specialise in working with and supporting people experiencing family violence, for immediate and or more long-term assistance.

Support Services

For Women

1800RESPECT National counselling helpline, information and support 24/7 1800 737 732 1800respect.org.au DAISY APP Daisy is an app developed by 1800RESPECT to connect people experiencing violence or abuse to services in their local area. Google Play Apple Store

For Men

MENSLINE Support for men with family and relationship issues 24/7 1300 789 978 mensline.org.au

FOR LGBTQI+

QLife Telephone and online counselling, referrals and support groups for LGBTQI+ people and their families. 1800 184 527 qlife.org.au

 

Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code Information

The Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code protects customers who use mobile phone, landline and internet services, including NBN.

The TCP Code was developed by the Telecommunications Industry following extensive consultation and negotiation with consumer groups, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), and other relevant interest groups. The ACMA regularly monitors compliance with the code.

Customers can find out more about their rights as a telecommunications customer here.

Central Telecoms is committed to following the code and its principles. If you would like to talk to us about the code or how we are following it, please contact us by email at support@centraltelecoms.com.au.