From 1 November 2018 the Australian Financial Complaints Authority or ‘AFCA’ will be the new external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme to deal with complaints from consumers in the financial system. It will be operated by a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee authorised by the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services.
AFCA will have expertise to deal with all disputes across the entire financial services industry, including superannuation and small business lending disputes. For the first time ever, consumers will be able to go to one place to resolve any kind of financial complaint, and the new AFCA scheme will operate under significantly higher monetary limits and compensation caps.
AFCA replaces the three existing EDR schemes of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) so that consumers have access to a single EDR scheme.
Membership of the company will be required under law or a licence condition of a financial firm. AFCA operations will be financed by contributions made by its members. The scheme will be free to consumers. AFCA will:
be the single point of contact for complainants for EDR services;
have higher monetary limits;
be more accountable to users, including by having an independent assessor to deal with complaints about its handling of disputes; and
have rules (terms of reference) to support its dispute resolution functions and legislation in the case of superannuation disputes.
From 1 November 2018, if an issue has not been resolved to your satisfaction, you can lodge a complaint with AFCA. AFCA provides fair and independent financial services complaint resolution that is free to consumers. Until this date the existing EDR organisations FOS, CIO and SCT must be used.
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