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Before you lodge a dispute

Important information

From 1 November 2018, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) will be replaced by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
AFCA will deal with all new financial services complaints from this date, and manage any ongoing complaints previously lodged with FOS.

What does this mean for you?

31 October
At 12pm midday AEDT, FOS’s online dispute form will go offline. Any saved FOS dispute forms must be retrieved and submitted prior to this time.
Between 12 and 5pm AEDT, please call us on 1800 931 678 to discuss if either
   •   you need help to lodge a dispute or
   •   your dispute relates to debt collection or court proceedings.
1 November
From 12am midnight AEDT, you will be able to lodge a complaint using AFCA’s online complaint form.
Before you lodge a dispute with FOS, please read some simple steps you can follow to resolve your dispute as quickly as possible.
Contact your financial services provider

Many complaints can be fixed quickly once you make contact with your financial services provider (eg your bank, insurer, financial planner or other type of provider of financial services).

Your financial services provider will have a complaints area that you can contact by phone, email or letter.  You should explain what your complaint is about and what you would like the outcome of your complaint to be. Sample complaint letters are available from ASIC's MoneySmart website.

Before we can consider the dispute, your financial services provider must be given an opportunity to resolve the dispute with you directly. In most cases, the financial services provider has up to 45 days to respond to your complaint. If your dispute concerns difficulty you are experiencing meeting repayments to a credit facility (for example your  mortgage or credit card), the financial services provider has up to 21 days to respond.

Check that your financial services provider is a member of FOS

Enter the name of your financial services provider below to check if they are a member of FOS.

Note: if the search forms do not display below then please refresh your browser or go to this page.

If they are not a member of FOS then we cannot help you, and you will need to contact the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) to see if they are a member of CIO:

Types of disputes we can consider

FOS considers many different types of disputes involving our members, including banking, credit cards, mortgages, general and life insurance, financial planning and investment advice.

We may be able to help if you believe your financial services provider has acted unfairly towards you, for instance by:

  • breaking a law
  • breaching a relevant Code of Practice
  • not meeting standards of good practice in the relevant industry sector.

From 1 January 2015, we are able to make decisions for compensation up to a limit of $309,000.

For full details of the types of complaints covered by FOS, please refer to our Terms of Reference.


Types of disputes we can’t consider

There are some types of disputes that we can’t deal with. It is also important to note that time limits apply for lodging a dispute with us.

These are listed in more detail in our Terms of Reference, but for example, we can’t deal with disputes regarding:

  • a Financial Services Provider (FSP) that is not a member of FOS when the dispute is lodged (search our members listing to determine if an FSP is a member)
  • issues that have already been dealt with by a court, tribunal, arbitrator or another ASIC-approved EDR scheme
  • certain insurance products, such as compulsory third party insurance or private health insurance and some commercial general insurance products
  • decisions of trustees of regulated superannuation funds and approved deposit funds. The Superannuation Complaints Tribunal is the appropriate place to deal with these disputes
  • an FSP’s assessment of the credit risk posed by a borrower (with some exceptions including irresponsible lending or financial hardship)
  • the investment performance of an investment product, unless it concerns inappropriate financial advice, non-disclosure, misrepresentation or misleading conduct
  • tax or accounting advice that does not involve financial planning or other financial services advice or products. Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, CPA Australia, or the Institute of Public Accountants may be able to assist you.

We also can’t deal with disputes about fees, unless certain circumstances apply. For example, FOS can’t deal with a customer dispute that a fee charged was ‘too high’, but we can deal with disputes where a customer claims:

  • the fee charged was not allowed by the contract between them and the FSP
  • the fee was not properly disclosed
  • there was poor service (the dispute is about poor service) and they are claiming a refund of the fee.

Please see our list of useful links to find contact details of other agencies or Ombudsman services that may be able to help you.


Limits on claims and compensation

We can accept claims up to $500,000.

The monetary compensation we can award for a claim lodged on or after 1 January 2018 is limited to $323,500, except for disputes relating to general insurance broking ($174,000), income stream life insurance ($8,700 per month) and uninsured third party motor vehicle claims ($5,000).

The limit on consequential (indirect) loss per claim is $3,300 for claims lodged before 1 January 2018, and $3,500 for claims lodged on or after 1 January 2018.

The limit on non-financial loss per claim is $3,000.

More information
To find out more about whether we can deal with your complaint, you can review our Terms of Reference or call us on 1800 367 287 so we can advise you.

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