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A Hardship Policy assists eligible customers experiencing financial difficulty to better manage their financial obligations to your business.
A Hardship Policy will typically provide guidance to customers on their rights, and the obligations of the business. Some sectors (e.g. Energy) have guidelines that create binding, enforceable obligations on retailers to strengthen protections for customers experiencing payment difficulties due to hardship.
Typically a Hardship Policy would include:
- processes to identify customers experiencing payment difficulties due to hardship, including identification by the business and self-identification by the customer
- processes for the early response by the business to customers in hardship
- flexible payment options
- processes to identify, and to notify customers of, appropriate government concession programs and appropriate financial counselling services
- an outline of programs that the business may use to assist hardship customers
- processes or programs to assist customers with strategies to reduce their ongoing bills where applicable