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Financial difficulty

Information required from a commercial fee-charging representative  representing an applicant in relation to a financial difficulty dispute

If a fee-charging representative is seeking consideration for their client’s financial difficulty, FOS requires that the representative provide specific information and documentation at time of lodgement, which includes:

  • the information required under General information required from a commercial fee-charging representative;
  • a completed statement of financial position;
  • reasons for their client’s financial difficulty;
  • an outline of how their client’s circumstances will change (if they have not already done so); and
  • a summary of the assistance being requested of the financial services provider (FSP).

We expect that the fee-charging representative should also be willing to facilitate timely negotiations between their client and the FSP. If we consider that the representative is not actively working with their client, the FSP and FOS to find a solution which may see their client’s financial difficulty overcome, and is instead using our service to simply delay collection activity, we may decide that they are not acting in the best interests of their client and will cease to consider the dispute further.

Some fee-charging representatives may try to use our service to negotiate a settle-for-less outcome for their client, e.g. to pay a reduced amount in full and final settlement. We cannot request that an FSP waive any portion of an outstanding debt if that debt is validly incurred by the applicant. Any such decision by an FSP to reduce a validly incurred debt is done purely on a commercial basis.

If a fee-charging representative continues to seek a settle-for-less outcome for their client through our office after an FSP has declined the request, we may cease to consider the dispute further unless the applicant is able to provide an alternate repayment proposal that will see the entire debt repaid within a reasonable time.