Consumers who have complaints about financial services now have somewhere to turn, thanks to a new body set up in November.
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) was established to help consumers and small businesses resolve complaints about a financial product or service for free.
"It could be about credit or investments, financial advice that's been received, or it could be disputes that might be about super or insurance products and insurance claims so really right across the financial spectrum,” AFCA Chief Ombudsman David Locke told SBS News.
Trouble with various financial services has been highlighted in recent months by the Royal Commission into banking, and reports of inadequate management of some superannuation funds, among other issues.
However, the establishment of AFCA predates those enquiries. It was created following recommendations of the 2016 Ramsay Review into external dispute resolution.
There is no doubt that a need for the service exists, as Mr Locke says AFCA expects “in excess of 55,000 disputes alone in the first year”. He adds that AFCA’s determinations are binding.
It is recommended that consumers first discuss their issues with their financial services provider. If this proves fruitless, they should then contact AFCA online at afca.org.au, or call 1800 931 678.