Introduction

This document is the IPSTAR Australia Pty Limited (“IPSTAR”) Credit Management & Financial Hardship Policy, prepared for the purposes of Chapter 6 of Communications Alliance Ltd Industry Code Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code C628:2012 (“the Code”).

Chapter 6 of the Code requires Carriage Service Providers such as IPSTAR to, among other things:

  • Undertake appropriate credit assessment;
  • Provide credit control tools;
  • Implement credit management processes; and
  • Have a financial hardship policy.

The provisions of this document set out the policies of IPSTAR  in relation to the above matters. This document is not a substitute for the Code, and is not intended to be an exhaustive list of Customers’ or IPSTAR’s rights and obligations under the Code. This document should be read in conjunction with the Code. A copy of the Code can be downloaded from the Communications Alliance Ltd website at http://www.commsalliance.com.au/

Application of this policy

This policy only applies to our customers who are end users of our Internet Services.

Credit assessment

If a Customer applies to IPSTAR for the supply of telecommunications services, IPSTAR will, either:

  1. Undertake an appropriate credit assessment to determine whether to supply a Service to the Customer where such credit assessment will consist of IPSTAR requesting a credit worthiness report from Veda Advantage Information Services & Solutions Limited.
  2. Supply a Service which includes measures to effectively limit the Customer’s expenditure or usage by implementing:
    1. A hard cap;
    2. A pre-paid service;
    3. Reducing broadband internet download speed or reaching a limit; and/or
    4. Any other equivalent measure.

In applying for a Service from IPSTAR you authorise IPSTAR to obtain information from credit reporting agencies. If we refuse to supply you with Services due to information we receive from a credit reporting agency about you, we will provide you with the information required under paragraph 6.3 of the Code.

IPSTAR will only provide Services to Customers who meet the IPSTAR credit approval criteria.

Results of credit assessment

If access to Services is restricted by IPSTAR as a result of a credit assessment and restricted services have not previously been supplied by IPSTAR to the Customer, IPSTAR will inform the Customer at the time of imposing any such restrictions:

  1. Of the restrictions or conditions to be imposed upon access to the Service;
  2. Of the general nature of the reasons for the restrictions being imposed;
  3. If applicable, how the Customer may access Services which have been restricted; and
  4. Any other information required by paragraph 6.3 of the Code.

IPSTAR reserves the right to require a formal guarantee from a third party as security for payment of fees associated with any Service.

Credit control tools / spend management / security tools

Upon request, IPSTAR will notify Customers about the availability of security tools to prevent unauthorised access to or use of Services, how to obtain assistance in using such security tools, and the cost of any security tools offered by IPSTAR, if any.

Details of any options for restricting access to Services will also be listed on our website at

  • http://ipstarsandbox2.wpengine.com/

If a Customer requests a suspension to a Service,  fees or charges Maybe payable during the period of suspension: These are outline in the SFoA that can be found at http://ipstarsandbox2.wpengine.com/legal/

A suspension of the service will only be allowed for 3 months. Should you require a longer period, please contact IPSTAR and we will consider your request.

Unbilled amounts

IPSTAR will provide Customers with access to current information regarding any unbilled amounts on their accounts. Information on unbilled amounts can be obtained by telephoning IPSTAR on 1300 464 778 six (6) days per week (Monday – Saturday) during normal business hours Australia-wide.

Credit management action

IPSTAR have implemented processes to assist Customers who are experiencing difficulties paying their accounts, including via the Financial Hardship Policy sections of this document detailed below.

IPSTAR reserves the right to refer Customers’ debts to debt collection agents and for listing a Customer default with a credit reporting agency, and in obtaining Services from IPSTAR, Customers agree and acknowledge IPSTAR’ credit management action rights in that regard. However, IPSTAR will carry out credit management action prior to referring the Customer debt to a debt collection agent or listing a Customer default with a credit reporting agency.

Prior to taking credit management action, IPSTAR will also advise the relevant Customer of the general nature and effect of:

  1. The time they have to pay for Services;
  2. Their obligation to pay by the due date;
  3. Any processes IPSTAR has for:
    1. Interim billing or changes in the billing cycle for credit management purposes;
    2. Follow up of overdue accounts; and
    3. Assisting Customers who are experiencing difficulties in paying their accounts, including IPSTAR’ Financial Hardship Policy;
  4. Part payment of a bill in circumstances where a number of Services are combined on one bill, and any method for allocating amounts received;
  5. The reasons for IPSTAR’ actions,

and IPSTAR will provide the Customer with any other information it is required to provide under the Code.

Prior to suspending or disconnecting a Service in the course of carrying out credit management action, IPSTAR must ensure that Customers are given adequate notice (at least five (5) Working Days) of its intention to Restrict, Suspend or Disconnect a Customer’s Service. IPSTAR will also make reasonable attempts to advise the Customer of:

  1. The role of community financial counsellors and consumer advocates in dealing with financial matters;
  2. Options in respect to repayment processes;
  3. The effect non-payment may have on other Services the Customer has with IPSTAR,

and IPSTAR will provide the Customer with any other information it is required to provide under the Code.

In certain circumstances, we may suspend or restrict access to Services without notice. This includes where we:

  1. Assess that the Customer or the account status presents an unacceptably high credit risk to us; or
  2. Reasonably suspect fraud or attempted fraud.

We will not take credit management action in relation to genuinely disputed amounts while the dispute is being investigated and remains unresolved by us, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman or relevant recognised agencies.

Financial hardship assessment

Financial hardship means a situation where:

  1. Due to reasonable cause, a Customer is unable to discharge their financial obligations under their contract with IPSTAR; and
  2. The Customer reasonably expects to be able to discharge those obligations if payment or Service arrangements are changed.

Financial hardship can include circumstances where Customers may be unable to comply with their financial obligations under the Agreement, for example, due to Customer illness. In certain circumstances IPSTAR may be able to accommodate Customers who are experiencing financial hardship by adjusting their payment and/or Service arrangements.

Upon a Customer’s request, IPSTAR will assess a Customer’s eligibility for assistance under the IPSTAR Financial Hardship Policy as set out in this document. IPSTAR, in undertaking that assessment, will take into account the Customer’s individual circumstances. IPSTAR will not charge for the assessment, or for implementing any financial hardship arrangements.

IPSTAR may require supporting documentation in order to consider an application by a Customer for assistance under the IPSTAR Financial Hardship Policy.

Each application for consideration under the IPSTAR Australia Financial Hardship Policy is assessed individually on its merits.

Financial hardship arrangements

IPSTAR will ensure that any financial hardship arrangements agreed with a Customer are sufficiently flexible to take account of the Customer’s individual circumstances.

Some of the options that IPSTAR will consider implementing under a financial hardship arrangement include:

  1. Waiving disconnection, suspension and/or reconnection fees;
  2. Waiving late payment or interest fees;
  3. Agreeing to the payment of a Customer’s debt within a specific timeframe.

If IPSTAR approves a financial hardship arrangement, IPSTAR will:

  1. Inform the Customer of the agreed terms of the financial hardship arrangements;
  2. Ensure the Customer is aware of their rights and obligations under any financial hardship arrangement;
  3. At the time a financial hardship arrangement is implemented, advise the Customer to contact IPSTAR if the Customer’s circumstances change during the term of the arrangement; and
  4. Be willing and able to review the arrangements if the Customer’s circumstances change.

Financial hardship policy information

IPSTAR will ensure that it has staff who are trained in applying and processing its Financial Hardship Policy. Customers who require any information concerning the IPSTAR Financial Hardship Policy can contact IPSTAR by telephone on 1300 464 778. When calling, please ask to speak to one of our trained financial hardship policy staff.

Our trained financial hardship policy staff will discuss with you options for managing financial hardship, and will provide you with a copy of a summary of how the IPSTAR Financial Hardship Policy may assist Customers. The summary will be provided on the Customer’s request, when the Customer indicates they are experiencing financial hardship or if IPSTAR considers the Customer may be eligible for the policy.

During discussion of any financial hardship arrangements, IPSTAR will not undertake credit management action in relation to the relevant Customer’s account, unless:

  1. The Customer breaches the terms of the financial hardship arrangement. In that event, if the Customer does not contact IPSTAR to discuss a new arrangement, IPSTAR will take reasonable steps to contact the Customer before taking credit management action;
  2. It would be reasonable in the circumstances; or
  3. The Customer agrees at that time.

Further options

There are a range of free financial counselling services offered in each state and territory in Australia that can assist you with information about financial difficulty.

National

National Debt Helpline

Phone: 1800 007 007

Website: www.ndh.org.au

Website: www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au

 

New South Wales

Legal Aid New South Wales

Phone: 1300 888 529

Website: www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au

 

Queensland

Financial Counsellors Association of Queensland

Phone: 1800 007 007

Website: www.fcaq.com.au

 

Tasmania

Anglicare Financial Counselling Service

Phone: 1800 243 232

Website: www.anglicare-tas.org.au

 

Hobart Community Legal Service

Phone: 1800 232 500

Website: www.hobartlegal.org.au

 

Rural Business Tasmania

Phone: 1300 888 276

Website: www.ruralbusinesstasmania.org.au

 

Victoria

Finanacial & Consumer Rights Council

Phone: 03 9663 2000

Website: www.fcrc.org.au

 

Western Australia

Financial Counsellors Association of Western Australia

Phone: 08 9325 1617

Website: www.financialcounsellors.org

 

South Australia

The South Australian Financial Counsellors Association

Phone: 1800 007 007

Website: www.safca.org.au

Customer credit information

Subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act, IPSTAR will ensure that Customers can obtain information held by it relating to their credit history or credit standing. IPSTAR will not impose a cost on supplying that information, except for abnormal supply costs, or where the fee or charge is not excessive and IPSTAR has informed the Customer at the time of, or prior to, imposing the fee or charge of the amount or method of its calculation.

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