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Understanding Financial Hardship

Understanding Financial Hardship

Financial Hardship is an inability, not an unwillingness, to pay a debt.   The cause of financial hardship is often due to unexpected circumstances, which may be temporary or permanent.  Usually a customer is identified as being in financial hardship by self-assessment, by their financial counsellor, by their financial institution or by a collection agency assigned to recover a debt.  The team at Shield Mercantile regularly respond to hardship applications which firstly involves completing a Statement of Financial Position and submitting this for review along with supporting documentation which verifies the customer’s current financial position.  Generally, until the Statement of Financial Position is received and verified, the hardship support process cannot commence.  

At Shield Mercantile, all hardship applications are dealt with on a case by case basis.  It is common for people to feel reluctant or embarrassed about disclosing their financial position, but rest assured we are here to listen and support each genuine application. 

Click here for a link to the Federal Government website Money Smart. You will find lots of useful information about financial counsellors, budgeting and how to deal with a sudden change in financial circumstances. 

If you are experiencing financial hardship and you are contacted by a financial counsellor, check their bona fides to ensure they are a legitimate organisation established to assist customers in financial difficulty, not simply a credit repair or debt consolidation business that charges a big fee for their service.  A real financial counsellor is properly qualified to assist their clients.  They are accredited, and undergo annual continuing education and supervised professional development to ensure they are up to date with all aspects of financial counselling.  This means they are well qualified to provide support and advice to you.  Most importantly, financial counselling is a free and confidential service offered by community organisations, community legal centres and some government agencies – they will not ask you for money up front.   

Payment Arrangements

Once the assessment process is completed and approved, Shield Mercantile will most likely offer the customer a payment arrangement.  In all cases, the payment arrangement will be fair and reasonable, and designed to accommodate the unique circumstances of each customer.

Once the payment plan is established, Shield Mercantile will provide written confirmation of the arrangement including: 

  • Date of commencement
  • Frequency of each payment
  • Amount of each payment
  • Date of last payment 

If for any reason a customer cannot make a scheduled payment, all they need to do is telephone or email their contact at Shield Mercantile, let them know, and a revised payment date will be recorded in the system.  

For more information about how Shield Mercantile manage issues of financial hardship or payment arrangements, please contact us on 02 9687 6230 or by email at shieldmercantile@shieldmerc.com.au

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The team at Shield Mercantile are here to assist you. Falling behind on your payments can happen to anyone and we are dedicated to helping our customers get on top of their overdue accounts.

Make contact with us as soon as you can. You can do this by email or over the phone. The sooner we understand your individual circumstances, the sooner we can put a plan in place to help reduce your debt.

If your experiencing financial hardship please read here.

You can contact Shield by phone on 02 9687 6111 or by email shieldmercantile@shieldmerc.com.au

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