We understand from time to time that some of our customers may face periods of financial hardship due to a number of reasons, often beyond their control.
Financial hardship may be defined as where a customer wants to pay what they owe but unable to do so, or anticipates being unable to do so in the near future.
We encourage our customers who are having financial difficulty to contact us as soon as possible to discuss their situation (refer ‘Contacting Us’ below).
The type of assistance we may be able to provide will vary depending on the customer’s individual circumstances and we will consider both longer term as well as short-term financial solutions.
For eligible customers, assistance may include:
- Tailored repayment arrangements based on what a customer can afford to pay at the time, e.g. reduced repayments, repayment extension periods;
- For customers with home loans, deferred or reduced repayments on their loan for three, six and up to 12 months, to be assessed on a case by case basis (with interest capitalised into the loan).
We will also suspend any debt collection activity while these arrangements are in place and being met. Customers may specifically authorise a third party to make enquiries on their behalf. We will talk to the customers’ representative if it is satisfied that the representative has been authorised by the customer. All customers may utilise our Financial Hardship Assistance services.
The objectives of the our Financial Hardship Policy are:
- To assist our customers experiencing financial hardship to manage their financial obligations to Australian Unity Limited, and to return to being (or to remain) regular, conforming account holders;
- Whenever possible, to:
- protect the long term capacity of customers experiencing financial hardship to service their loan(s);
- avoid having to instigate legal proceedings;
- avoid customers seeking bankruptcy or filing for a debt agreement under the Bankruptcy Act; and
- encourage customers experiencing financial hardship to seek assistance as soon as possible.
Reasons a member may face financial hardship include (but are not limited to):
- Illness/Medical Expenses
- Relationship breakdowns
- Reduced income
- Business failure
- Over-commitment or excessive use of credit
- Poor financial management.
Whatever the reason, we encourage our customers to contact us immediately if they feel they may be under financial hardship. We will actively work with its customers to assist and will discuss all alternatives after a full review of their current financial position.
To consider a request for Financial Hardship, customers are encouraged to complete the form Application for Variation to Contract Due to Financial Hardship, and to provide any additional information required. We may take up to 21 days to assess the application after receiving all information, however we will endeavour to provide a quicker turnaround time whenever possible.
A customer can contact Australian Unity in a number of ways regarding financial hardship:
Phone 1300 790 740 (Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5.30pm AEST)