Maybe you are facing financial hardship, like an illness, that is preventing you from earning money to pay off your bills. Or maybe you blew your money by shouting everyone drinks at the bar. Either way, it is not wise to ignore your phone bill, that will only worsen the situation.
Even though you are really excited to buy the new iPhone, you need to keep in mind that when getting your phone on a plan, you are signing a contract with your service provider. Upon signing the contract, you are legally bound to follow through with your responsibilities, such as paying your monthly phone bill. There are exceptions to this but mostly breaching your contract is not a matter to be taken lightly.
Instead of ignoring your bill under a pile of other bills, a good solution is to ask your service provider about your options. Obviously the latter of the above situations does not leave you with more than the mercy of your service provider. But if you are suffering through serious financial hardship in unexpected circumstances such as being fired from your job, then your service provider might have a backup plan for you.
Most companies do not want to lose you as a customer and you may be able to negotiate a way of paying your phone bill at a later date or in instalments. Depending on how long you have been with your current provider, you may even be able to negotiate a discount if this is your first time experiencing delays in being able to pay your bill.
Steps to try when you are suffering financial hardship
- Start by calling your service provider and ensuring you are speaking with a person who can assist you with your problem.
- Ask your service provider about their hardship policies. Your service provider should have these policies in place, for circumstances when you are suffering through difficult times and are unable to pay your bill either in its entirety or in part.
- Get in contact with the financial counsellor. Most companies will have a financial counsellor, a person that can assist you in sorting out your finances for paying your bill. You can even get financial counselling services from Community Legal Centres near you or call the financial counselling hotline.
Steps to try when you feel that your service provider has charged you an unfair amount
- Contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. It is a free service that provides you advice on handling your complaints with your phone service provider. It is handy to have details of the problem, your service provider’s details and a copy of your bill with you when you call or lodge a complaint.
- If you still feel that you have been charged either as a mistake or in an unfair manner, you can make a complaint to the ACCC.
- Such matters can generally be settled outside of courts, but if you feel that there has been a serious breach, then court is your ultimate option.
Your mobile contract, according to law, must tell you the aftermath of when you have used up your inclusions of the monthly plan. It could range from your service being suspended or you getting charged extra on top of your bill. You must be aware of these to assist you in preparing what you may be in for when signing for your contract.
As an extra tip, if you want to end your contract with your current service provider, without paying the termination fees, you can look at companies that offer to take in your contract without any extra fees. But it is always good to thoroughly read your terms and conditions when commencing a new contract and to ensure that it is within your budget.
Feature image: venturebeat.com