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AFCA information for consumers

General information

  • The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services has authorised the establishment and operation of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
  • AFCA will be the new external dispute resolution scheme for the financial services industry. When it starts on 1 November 2018, AFCA will replace the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), Credit & Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT). The SCT, however, will continue in run off mode for a further period to deal with any open disputes it has at the commencement date of AFCA.
  • AFCA will accept new complaints from 1 November 2018. All financial firms required to hold membership of an external dispute resolution scheme will be required to join AFCA by no later than 21 September 2018.
  • Ninety-eight per cent of current FOS members have already completed the annual assessment and member declaration to ensure a smooth transition to AFCA. 

Consumer information

  • All current disputes at FOS and disputes that are open when AFCA begins will be handled under the existing FOS Terms of Reference.
  • Until AFCA starts on 1 November, you can still lodge disputes with FOS, CIO and SCT.
  • All new disputes lodged after AFCA has started will be handled under the new AFCA Rules, which will incorporate the new claims limits and compensation caps already announced by the government. Disputes lodged with AFCA will be called complaints.
  • The new AFCA website is www.afc.org.au. The website will be updated during the next six months with information for consumers, small businesses and financial firms. We will share more about the creation of AFCA on both the FOS and AFCA websites as information becomes available.
  • The AFCA postal address is GPO Box 3, Melbourne VIC 3001
  • The new AFCA phone number is 1800 931 678
  • If you have a current dispute with the SCT or are thinking of lodging a superannuation dispute, please contact the SCT for more information as there are strict time limits that apply to superannuation disputes.

The new Rules

  • AFCA’s Rules will set out the complaints it can consider, including whether it will be able to consider matters previously lodged with CIO, FOS or SCT.  
  • You can check AFCA’s website closer to 1 November 2018 for more details about the Rules. At this stage, we expect them to be approved and finalised by September.
  • If you think a complaint previously lodged with FOS, CIO or the SCT may be able to be considered under AFCA’s Rules, you can submit it to AFCA after 1 November. However, if your complaint has already been ‘dealt with’ by that scheme (this includes if it was resolved by agreement, or if an assessment or a decision on the merits of the dispute was made), AFCA is not likely to be able to deal with it a second time. AFCA’s rules are also likely to contain a number of time limits that might affect your dispute.
  • You may wish to seek independent legal advice about your options before deciding whether to lodge a complaint with one of the current schemes or to wait and lodge your complaint with AFCA.
  • Disputes that are currently with the SCT cannot be withdrawn and transferred to AFCA.
  • AFCA will have higher monetary limits and broader scope to deal with complaints. However, it will also incorporate a number of existing jurisdictional provisions and exclusions from the current schemes.

Other information

  • AFCA will be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all financial services disputes.
  • AFCA will apply a new definition for small business (defined as any business with fewer than 100 staff).
  • AFCA’s increased jurisdictional limits for non-superannuation disputes are:
Type of claim Current FOS limits New AFCA limits
Most non-superannuation disputes Monetary limit
$500,000
Monetary limit
$1 million
Compensation cap
$323,500
Compensation cap
$500,000
Dispute about a small business credit facility Facility limit
$2 million
Facility limit
$5 million
Compensation cap
$323,500
Compensation cap
$1 million
Dispute about a small business credit facility to primary production business

(eg agriculture, forestry and fishery businesses)

Facility limit
$2 million
Facility limit
$5 million
Compensation cap
$323,500
Compensation cap
$1 million
Dispute about whether a guarantee should be set aside where it has been supported by a mortgage or other security over the guarantor’s primary place of residence Monetary limit
$500,000
No monetary limit
Facility limit for small business
$2 million
Facility limit for small business
$5 million
Compensation cap
$323,500
No compensation cap
Income stream product disputes Compensation cap
$8,700 per month
Compensation cap
$13,400 per month
Uninsured third party motor vehicle claims Compensation cap
$5,000
Compensation cap
$15,000
General insurance broker disputes Compensation cap
$174,000
Compensation cap
$250,000