Privacy Policy

 

The National Debt Helpline website (NDH website) is managed by Financial Counselling Australia (FCA).  The NDH website provides information to website users including about the National Debt Helpline service (1800 007 007 phone number) and provides a live chat service hosted by Freshworks Pty Ltd using its Freshchat product: see www.freshworks.com/privacy for its privacy policy.  These NDH services enable you to obtain free financial counselling advice from participating financial counselling not-for-profit organisations.  It is also possible through these services to book an appointment with a financial counsellor.

FCA and the participating financial counselling organisations involved in the NDH services (referred to in this policy as ‘we’) are all committed to protecting your privacy and complying with our legal privacy obligations.

This Privacy Policy explains how FCA manages NDH website users’ personal information.  It also directs you to the privacy policies of the financial counselling organisations that participate in providing the NDH services.

The NDH website does not knowingly link to sites that are privacy-invasive, but you should be aware that FCA is not responsible for linked websites. When you link to another website, you should read the privacy statement of that website to understand your privacy protections.

 

  1.  Collection and use of personal information

a)  Browsing the NDH website

You can browse the NDH website without disclosing your name or other identifying information.

The NDH website does not use cookies to collect personal information about your Internet Protocol (IP) address and browser/operating system information (more information about cookies is available on websites like Cookie Central).

The following information is automatically recorded by FCA’s website’s server:

  • the address of your server
  • the date and the time you visited the NDH website
  • the pages you accessed and downloaded
  • the address of the last website you visited
  • your operating system
  • the type of browser you are using.

FCA will not attempt to use this information to identify you unless necessary to investigate a breach of law.

b)  Live chat service

If you use the live chat service, we may collect personal information from you including your name, email address, age range, State, reason for using the live chat service and information about your debts and financial position. All chat conversations are securely saved together with application integration data, knowledge base data, report data and agent/user data.

c) Appointment booking service

If through a NDH service you book an appointment with a financial counsellor, we will collect personal information from you including your name, contact details and information about your financial counselling needs.  Depending on your circumstances, some information may be collected that is classified by law as sensitive information, for example, information about your language background.  All information will be recorded in a secured database. Read the Data Collection Statement.

 

  1. Purposes for which we collect, use and disclose your personal information

The NDH website information is collected and used for statistical and system administration purposes.

If you use the live chat service, your personal information is collected and held to enable a financial counsellor to answer your questions and otherwise assist you, for example, by referring you to an agency that can provide you with assistance free of charge. Refer to section 6. Participant financial counselling organisations, to see the privacy policies of the agencies who deliver the chat in your State or Territory.

If you book a financial counselling appointment, your personal information is collected and held to facilitate the making of that appointment and to help the financial counsellor to meet your needs.

Collected information is also held, used and disclosed on a de-identified basis for the purposes of explaining the work of the service, reporting to government and lobbying for changes to laws or industry practices to improve consumer protection or where systemic reform is required to pursue social and financial inclusion.  For example, we may draw de-identified case studies from the NDH chat data.  If so, the case study will not include identifying information without your prior express consent. We will not otherwise use or disclose your information without your consent, except where required or authorised to do so by law.  For example, we could be compelled to disclose information to a law enforcement agency or government agency undertaking a lawful investigation.

 

  1.  How we protect your personal information

We hold live chat information in online systems in accordance with strict procedures that protect the information.

  • There is a restricted group of FCA staff able to access live chat information.
  • System security measures include username and passwords with minimum password lengths and key types and maximum number of failed log-in attempts strictly enforced and monitoring of data-processing systems.
  • Our website security measures are updated and adjusted in line with the current state of knowledge.

Our appointment bookings database is also held in accordance with strict procedures.  It is only able to be accessed by the financial counselling agency that booked the appointment, the financial counselling agency with whom your appointment is made and FCA’s appointment booking system administrators.

All live chat and bookings system information is held in Australia.  No personal information is transferred to a foreign country. If FCA becomes aware of a privacy breach of your personal information, we will notify you of this unless we reasonably believe that this will not result in harm to you.

 

  1.  Access and correction

You can gain access to your personal information, subject to some limited exceptions allowed by law.  Factors affecting right to access include:

  • giving access would be unlawful; or
  • denying access is required or authorised by or under law.

An access request should be made to FCA by email [email protected].  We would expect that we would be able to respond to you within 30 days or earlier if there are urgency considerations.

If we refuse to provide access, we will explain to you in writing the reasons for our refusal.

If having accessed your information, you want to correct any information, you should put your request in writing to the FCA.   If the FCA refuses your request to correct information, FCA will explain to you in writing why.

 

  1.  Complaints

 If you require any further information about the NDH website or have a complaint about it, please contact FCA by email: [email protected].

 

  1.  Participant financial counselling organisations

If you ring the National Debt Helpline, or use the NDH website live chat service, you will be put through to a not-for-profit organisation who delivers the service in your State or Territory.  Each of these organisations has its own privacy policy.  You can find a copy of each organisation’s privacy policy as set out below.

Organisation Link to Privacy Policy Where they answer the Helpline Where they answer the Chat
CARE Financial Counselling Service CARE Financial Counselling Privacy Policy ACT ACT, NSW, Qld, Tas, Vic
Financial Rights Legal Centre Financial Rights Legal Centre Privacy Policy NSW ACT, NSW, Tas
Uniting NSW ACT Uniting Privacy Policy NSW
Anglicare NT Anglicare NT Privacy Policy NT
Uniting Care Qld Uniting Care Qld Privacy Policy Qld
Salvation Army Salvation Army Privacy Policy SA NT, SA, WA
Anglicare Tasmania Anglicare Tasmania Privacy Policy Tas
Consumer Action Law Centre Consumer Action Law Centre Privacy Policy Vic Qld, Vic
Better Place Australia Better Place Privacy Policy Vic
St Vincent de Paul St Vincent de Paul Privacy policy WA NT, SA, WA
Small Business Debt Helpline (Financial Counselling Australia) Small Business Debt Helpline Privacy Policy Calls to Small Business Debt Helpline in all States. Small business chats in all States

From time to time an organisation may cover calls or chats in a State they do not usually service in order to cover public holidays, training or staff shortages.

There are additional financial counselling organisations that assist with financial counselling appointments. The following table lists those organisations and provides a link to their privacy policies.

State/Territory

Organisation

Link to Privacy Policy

Western Australia

St Vincent de Paul

https://www.vinnies.org.au/privacypolicy

Western Australia

Uniting WA

https://unitingwa.org.au/privacy-policy/

Western Australia

Midlas

http://www.midlas.org.au/privacy/

Western Australia

Communicare

https://www.communicare.org.au/Privacy-Policy