The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) will hit the road from Monday 23 September to offer free Financial Fairness Checks for people across Australia and raise awareness of its free, fair and independent financial dispute resolution services.
Established in November 2018, AFCA is the one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses with complaints about financial firms, including banks, credit and insurance organisations, investments, financial advice and superannuation.
AFCA’s Financial Fairness Roadshow will serve as a roaming information centre, to help guide consumers and small businesses through the process of lodging a complaint.
New research shows that fewer than one out of every two people with a concern about their financial firm actually lodge a complaint. AFCA’s Chief Ombudsman and Chief Executive Officer, David Locke said the roadshow is an important step in ensuring all Australians understand their rights and know what to do when they have an unresolved issue with their financial firm.
“When people run into an issue with their financial provider, many don’t know they can actually make a formal complaint and get it fixed. If it’s something you’ve felt strongly enough to complain about to your friends and family, chances are you have a case to pursue.
“AFCA is a free, fair and independent service, here to help all Australians navigate their financial disputes and ensure they get a fair outcome,” Locke said.
“It’s confusing to work out what to do when something does go wrong – which is why AFCA is traveling around Australia, to make sure people do know where to go when they have a problem.
“Starting in Tasmania, before heading to the mainland, the national roadshow will allow us to connect with people in metropolitan, regional and rural areas, building awareness of AFCA and how we can support.
“We’re also letting people know they have a one year window to lodge complaints dating back to 2008. The special rules around ‘legacy complaints’ have been set by the Australian Government, and AFCA can accept legacy complaints until June 30, 2020.”
Locke said hearing from regional communities and better understanding their financial issues and challenges would also help AFCA improve its own processes and services.
“It’s important that Australians feel confident in bringing their financial complaints forward, and we will be there to support each and every Aussie that we encounter on the road,” he said.
Officially kicking off in Hobart on Monday 23 September, the roadshow bus will stop at 77 metropolitan, regional and rural communities between September and April.
In its first 10 months of operation, AFCA has received over 60,687 financial complaints and awarded more than $144.7 million in compensation.