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POLICIES

Financial Hardship

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Financial Hardship Policy 

This policy explains the options available to customers of Wide Network who are experiencing genuine Financial Hardship. 

We are here to help

Wide Networks will work with the customer to help them respond to financial difficulty, whether temporary or long-term. We are committed to helping customers facing financial hardship maintain telecommunications access and working with them to find a sustainable solution. Any assistance given will depend on the customer’s individual circumstances, and help will be provided on a case-by-case basis.

 

Definition of Financial Hardship

Wide Networks defines financial hardship as a temporary or ongoing 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.

 

Wide Networks Collections Team

In times of genuine hardship, it is understood that customers and/or their financial counsellor deserve easy access to empathetic and skilled staff. Wide Networks will endeavour to provide this service by training all Collections staff to correctly identify customers who are dealing with financial hardship.

 

The Collections Team is expected to act with compassion and sympathy, whilst still managing to meet business requirements. The Collections Team is also required to accept reasonable payment arrangements, taking into account each customer’s individual circumstances and can be contacted by emailing accounts@widenet.com.au

 

Identification of a Customer Experiencing Financial Hardship

Wide Networks will assess your eligibility for financial hardship assistance on request. Wide Network 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 causes adversely affecting your ability to pay 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 needed from you to help understand your individual circumstances.

 

This may include:

  • Documentation such as a statutory declaration from a person familiar with the consumer’s circumstances (family doctor, clergy, bank officer, etc.);

  • Evidence of consumer having consulted with, and/or being accompanied by a recognised financial counsellor or a booking to see a financial counsellor.

 

Wide Networks 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 your specific circumstances have been assessed, Wide Networks will consider the options available to assist you in the management of your financial hardship, as it relates to the services supplied to you. In addition to having extra time to pay your invoice, Wide Networks will also have, depending on your circumstances, the following options available:

 

Options to help stay connected:

  • apply appropriate spend controls

  • apply restrictions by shaping an applied decrease in the speed of your internet connection

 

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.

 

Assessment Duration

Your assessment will be reviewed by our empathetic and skilled Collections Team within 5 business days.

 

Communication of Financial Hardship arrangements

If, following assessment of your application, it was decided that assistance will not be given because your circumstances do not meet the criteria set out in this Financial Hardship Policy, you will be immediately informed of this decision.

If Wide Networks 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. Wide Networks will then 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 South Australia and nationally. The following organisations are in no way affiliated with Wide Networks but might be able to provide the assistance needed.

 

National

 

 

South Australia

 

 

 

 

Contact us

For more information on our Financial Hardship Policy, please make an online enquiry to accounts@widenet.com.au you will be contacted with assistance options.

 

Complaints

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 Procedure. This procedure 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

  • 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)

  • Wide Networks 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 (Cwth).

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