Factsheet: Paying bills
ONLINE TEXT VERSION - March 2012
What is a bill?
A bill is the cost of using something, for example, water, gas,
electricity, home phone, mobile phone and the Internet. You will
receive a bill for each service you have used.
What sort of things will I get bills for?
You will get bills for water, gas, electricity, home phone,
mobile phone and the Internet.
How can I pay bills?
There are different ways to pay bills. This is explained on your
bill. You can, for example, use your bank account over the phone or
on the Internet. You can pay in person at a post office or by mail
using a cheque or money order. If you get income from Centrelink
you can pay using a free service called Centrepay. You can also use
a direct debit service which you can set up with your service
What if I cannot afford to pay a bill?
- Call the company as soon as you can.
- You can get help from a free Financial Counsellor.
- Do not ignore the problem.
- A bill is the cost of using something, for example, water, gas,
electricity, home phone, mobile phone and the Internet.
- Everyone has bills to pay.
Case study: Get free help from a Financial Counsellor
Reda and Heba are having problems paying their bills. They do
not know what needs to be paid and when.
They remember that when they first arrived in Australia they
went to a town hall and listened to information from a settlement
worker. The settlement worker explained to the group some of the
local services available to them through service providers. One
thing they were told was that they can contact a free Financial
Counsellor to get help.
Reda and Heba can call the service providers and explain their
problem or they can get help from a free Financial Counsellor. They
decide to get help from the Financial Counsellor because they do
not know what to say or ask each service provider on the phone.
The Financial Counsellor's name is Mary and she first explains
what financial counsellors do and how they can help. One thing they
do is help people work out a budget or plan to pay back money they
owe. Reda and Heba feel much better now that they have spoken with
Mary helps Reda and Heba by contacting the right service
provider and arranging a payment plan that fits in with their
budget. The next day Mary calls Reda and Heba to explain what she
has done and asks them to write down when all of their bills are
due and the amount they need to pay for each one. She suggests
using a calendar and marking the date each bill is due on the
Reda and Heba thank Mary for her help. After the phone call they
write down on their calendar what bills are due, when they are due
and how much they have to pay.
Where to get more information
For help with problems paying bills, contact a free Financial
Counsellor on 1800 007 007 or contact your service provider on the
number written on the bill. For more information about Financial
Counsellors, visit MoneySmart or call 1300 300 630.
For more information about the Telecommunications Industry
Ombudsman, visit the website www.tio.com.au, or call 1800 062
058. For Energy Ombudsman and Water Ombudsman services visit
MoneySmart and search for utility bills.
Last updated: 08 Sep 2015