ACCAN launches hardship portal to assist telco customers in tough times

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the peak body for communications consumers in Australia, has launched an online Hardship Portal – a set of resources to assist people through tough times.

The Portal is designed for financial counsellors as well as consumers experiencing financial hardship. It provides links to the hardship policies of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone and outlines how to get help and the different options available.

“Any of us might find ourselves in trouble. All it takes is illness, bad luck or even just a short stint out of work. The Hardship Portal is a helpful tool for consumers who are experiencing tough times and finding it hard to pay for their phone or internet bill,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. “It’s even useful for those who just want to save money as it is full of helpful tips to use before things get out of hand.”

Debt can be an issue for many consumers, especially around this time of year. A report from the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), found that 80 per cent of frontline agencies are unable to meet current levels of demand with the resources available to them. This Portal is designed to help people before difficulty becomes too great.

“While many might not think of themselves as being in “hardship”, it’s important for consumers to know there are policies and guidelines in place to help them when trouble hits. We’d also like to thank the telcos – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – for working with us and making their hardship policies available through the Portal,” added Ms. Corbin.

The Portal features sections that give consumers relevant contacts, tips, links to other organisations that can help and a section with stories from consumers who have experienced hardship.