Making A Complaint About Financial Services

Post by Carly on August 29, 2014 · Under Hints and Tips · Comments Off on Making A Complaint About Financial Services 

Whether it is in a restaurant or a bank, most of us do not like to complain. Naturally, most companies do not like be complained about, but there are many good reasons why you should do so.

For starters, expressing your dissatisfaction can alert an organisation to a problem that could well be affecting hundreds, if not thousands, of others. Secondly, it is the beginning point of getting your issue rectified.

Most complaints are dealt with by the company involved relatively quickly, but there occasions you may need to take your grievance further.

It terms of making a complaint about financial services, your first point of call should always be the provider concerned. However, if they are unable or unwilling to deal with your case accordingly then there are three organisations you should consider contacting.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)

The FOS is an independent organisation accredited by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) that works to mediate on disputes between consumers and financial service providers.

The service is free to all people and provides an alternative resolution path to taking companies to task through the courts.

It will only investigate claims after they have first been made directly to the financial firm involved. If the complaint was made less than 45 days earlier, the FOS will register the dispute and contact the firm asking them to issue a response.

In cases where more than 45 days have elapsed or the response has been deemed as unsatisfactory, then the FOS will review your case and work with the financial services provider to come to a satisfactory conclusion.

A final decision will be made and issued to the person making the complaint in writing.

The FOS can be called on 1300 780 808 or alternatively you can visit the website www.fos.org.au

The Credit Ombudsman Service Limited (COSL)

Established in 2003, the COSL is an external resolution service whose remit includes non-bank financial organisations such as mortgage brokers, debt collection agencies, lenders and insurers.

Like the FOS, it is approved by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and is free to use.

Again, it asks that the financial service provider is given the opportunity to resolve a complaint before a case is passed to it. All COSL members have an internal dispute procedure in place for this purpose.

If your complaint is not dealt with or you are unhappy with the response given, then the COSL will take on the case on your behalf providing that at least 45 days from the original complaint date have elapsed.

To lodge a complaint with the COSL, call 1800 138 422 or complete the online form found at http://www.cosl.com.au/complaint-resolution/making-a-complaint/

COSL decision are only binding if the person complaining accepts the body’s verdict. In cases where the complainant is still not satisfied, they are able to take the issue further through the courts.

Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT)

The SCT deals with complaints connected to superannuation. It aims to provide a friendly but effective alternative to taking legal action in court.

It can deal with complaints regarding the conduct and decisions made by trustees of superannuation funds, life companies that provide immediate or deferred annuities, and those providing retirement savings accounts.

The type of complaints it considers include annual statement errors, unreasonable delays in payments, disability benefit refusals, and misrepresentations made in terms and conditions.

The SCT will only consider a complaint after it has been referred to the provider concerned and more than 90 days have passed.

On receipt of a complaint, the Tribunal will examine the case and notify the complainant if it can assist. Where it can take things further, it will contact the provide and inform them of the complaint.

After this, an inquest will take place in which the SCT will look through all supporting documents and make a decision on any next steps. The timescale for this can vary as all cases are different.

A final determination will made and issued to the consumer. Any parties that are not pleased with this decision are able to make a formal appeal the Federal Court.

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