Kiruparajan, a Tamil migrant from Sri Lanka, arrived in Auburn, Sydney, two and a half years ago. As with any new migrant, adjusting to life in a new country with a new language and new customs, proved challenging. But getting a phone to call home with should not have been one of those challenges.
Access to a phone is crucially important for new arrivals to Australia, who want to stay in contact with loved ones back home or find work in their new home. Unfortunately, some phone companies brazenly exploit the linguistic and cultural challenges some new migrants face.
When ‘Kirupa’, signed his two-year contract, it was clear he could not understand the sales representative. He wasn’t provided with a clear explanation about what his contract meant, or an interpreter to explain it to him.
He began using his phone, thinking his monthly bill was in fact a one-off, pre-paid expense. Seven months later, he found himself facing a phone bill of over $2,500.
“If I am happy in my life now, it’s because of Justice Connect.”
Unemployed and relying on a small amount of government financial support, the payments were well beyond what he could afford. Not only was he stressed by this large debt, he worried about how it would affect his credit rating.
Kirupa’s story is not unique. In fact, it is all too common.
Seeking help, he was put in touch with Justice Connect. With our partner pro bono lawyers, we worked with Kirupa to help him explain his situation to the telecommunications company. After much discussion, the company agreed for the debt to be fully waived in exchange for the return of the mobile phone. Kirupa was thrilled.
Empowered by the legal help he received, Kirupa now educates people in his community about the legal pitfalls facing new migrants and where to go when they get into trouble. He was extremely grateful to Justice Connect for resolving his problem, “Justice Connect’s help meant I can still call my family. I am very lucky. If I am happy in my life now, it’s because of Justice Connect.”