Phone and internet customers say they are being disconnected, harassed by debt collectors and generally treated harshly by their telco providers when they need help, negatively impacting mental health.
The Consumer Action Law Centre has released a report detailing stories of people struggling to pay their phone and internet bills, with some fearing homelessness due to losing their job during the pandemic.
Despite a federal moratorium on evictions and banks allowing mortgage repayments to be deferred during the pandemic, debt collectors have continued to contact telco customers demanding repayments.
James* was one of those customers.
The 23-year-old lives in Melbourne and identifies as Aboriginal. He’s studying for a Cert III and receives JobSeeker and the Mobility Allowance for his disability.
He was contacted by debt collectors for multiple debts, including for a buy-now-pay-later purchase, a payday loan, a consumer lease and a Telstra debt of nearly $3,000 from three years