Australian Financial Complaints Authority commences

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) commenced receiving complaints on 1 November 2018.

AFCA considers complaints from consumers and small businesses about financial services that previously would have been handled by the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal.

It considers complaints about credit, finance and loans, insurance, banking deposits and payments, investments and financial advice and superannuation.

AFCA’s jurisdiction is set out in its Rules.

AFCA’s Rules set out what complaints it can consider, the procedures it can use to resolve complaints, remedies it can provide and related matters, including its reporting obligations.

Generally under AFCA’s rules:

  • For small business loans (for small businesses with up to 100 employees), it can consider a credit facility up to $5 million with a compensation limit of $1 million;
  • If the business is a primary producer, it can consider a credit facility up to $5 million with a compensation limit of $2 million;
  • For credit facilities provided to consumers it can consider a loan up to $1 million with a compensation limit of $500,000;
  • Disputes involving superannuation accounts have no limit.

AFCA has set out the transitional timetable for notifying customers in your documents about its role as the external dispute resolution authority in this table.

From 1 November, superannuation trustees and insurers should continue to liaise with SCT in relation to any open complaints received by SCT prior to 1 November. Any superannuation complaints that are received from 1 November will be handled by AFCA.

AFCA has published a Transitional Superannuation Guide for superannuation complaints.

The Australian Information Commissioner has recognised the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) as an external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme under s 35A of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

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