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FINANCIAL HARDSHIP POLICY
This policy applies to the all the debt collection activities by Charter Mercantile on behalf of our clients
Charter Mercantile recognises that customers may experience significant changes in their lives, impacting their ability to repay financial commitments. Changes to circumstances may decrease a customer’s income and/or increase their expenses, resulting in financial difficulty for the customer. As a responsible mercantile agent and to safeguard the interests of our clients, Charter Mercantile has adopted a hardship policy to meet the requirements of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act (NCCP). This policy is designed to assist customers who are suffering from genuine financial hardship.
DEFINITION OF FINANCIAL HARDSHIP
Financial hardship is a state of disadvantage which results in an individual or household being unable to pay their financial commitments as required. Charter Mercantile considers customers to be in financial hardship when income is insufficient to cover reasonable living expenses and meet financial commitments as they become due.
Hardship can be ongoing or of limited duration, and can be triggered by a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
- Unemployment/reduced income/redundancy
- Change in family situation e.g. separation/loss of spouse
- Pregnancy/maternity leave
- Reduced turnover for a business
- Addiction (gambling/alcohol)
- Disaster e.g. fire, cyclone, flood
Hardship should be discussed with customers if there is any mention of hardship, if a verbal or written financial profile indicates hardship (ie deficit in income vs expenditure) or when a hardship trigger is identified.
Customers have the ability/right to request hardship orally (informally) and or via any channel (email, letter, fax or via the call).
FINANCIAL HARDSHIP POLICY PRINCIPLES
- Charter Mercantile is committed to providing a financial hardship process that ensures all customers are treated equally and fairly, and are provided the opportunity to participate in the process.
- If customers find themselves in financial difficulties, they should let us know as soon as possible. The sooner we discuss a customer’s problems, the easier it will be for both parties to find a solution. We will not usually be aware that the customer’s circumstances have changed until the customer tells us.
- If a customer requests that they be considered for Financial Hardship or a collector recognises that the customer is suffering from financial difficulty the customer must be provided all channels of applying for hardship (including website, email, fax, letter)
- As soon as it becomes clear to Charter Mercantile that a customer needs assistance, the debt is flagged as hardship and referred promptly to our client to assess the request.
- The Financial Hardship Process ensures that customers are not contacted whilst our client assesses the application.
- Charter Mercantile will only recommence collection activity should our client decline the hardship application or the customer decides not to proceed with the application.
- Charter Mercantile will evaluate the hardship process periodically.
HOW TO GET ASSISTANCE
If you are unable to meet your financial commitments get in touch with us via the contact mechanism you are most comfortable. We will work with you and provide the best method of applying for hardship. Depending on the debt we may be able to assist you in-house, alternatively we may direct you to the client we are acting on behalf of. We request you to fill in the following form Statement of Financial Position and contact us :
- Phone: 07 3620 7500 (Monday through Friday 9:00 am -5:00 pm AST)
- Facsimile: 07 3284 6855
- In Writing: Charter Mercantile, PO BOX 559, Redcliffe QLD – 4020
If you have any questions or concerns about our privacy practices please contact us by telephone, letter, facsimile or use the feedback form on our page Compliments and Complaints.
Financial Counselling Australia
Phone: 1800 007 007
If you require additional assistance with your financial circumstances or would like to appoint a financial counsellor as a third party nominated representative you can call Financial Counselling Australia (FCA).
MoneySmart – Managing debts
For tips and tools to help manage your debts – provided by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
Phone: 1300 224 636
A non-profit organisation that provides information and support to Australians suffering from depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.
REASONS TO UTILISE
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard accreditated. We are externally audited every year to ensure the highest level of protection for our clients data.
A Choice of 3 collection models
- Onshore collectons
- Offshore collections with a local onshore CRM
- A Blend of onshore and offshore collections
Proven IT infrastructure - PCIDSS CERTIFIED
All reporting and client relationships managed in Australia
Six Sigma Quality Assurance Methodology
All data remains in Australia on our PCI DSS compliant server
Full client internet access to review accounts and run reports