Financial Hardship: Insights from a Survey of Financial Counsellors
Paul Ali University of Melbourne - Law School; Centre for International Finance and Regulation (CIFR)
Evgenia Bourova University of Melbourne - Law School
Ian Ramsay University of Melbourne - Law School; Centre for International Finance and Regulation (CIFR)
Abstract: Financial hardship occurs where a consumer takes on payment obligations under a contract but then becomes unable to meet them when they fall due. The authors present the results of a survey of financial counsellors with the aim of drawing upon the extensive work experience of the counsellors to put together a broad picture of the underlying causes of this growing problem and how it is addressed in four key sectors: consumer credit, energy, water and telecommunications. The findings include the views of the financial counsellors on the causes of financial hardship, how financial hardship can vary according to gender, and the particular challenges faced by migrants. The findings of the research also include insights into the types of assistance provided to those in financial hardship by providers of consumer credit, energy, water and telecommunications, the adequacy of this assistance and the barriers to accessing appropriate hardship assistance.