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A comprehensive guide to lodging a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority

A comprehensive guide to lodging a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority

Published on October 27, 2023

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is an independent dispute resolution scheme that offers a straightforward and accessible way for consumers and small businesses to resolve complaints with financial firms operating in Australia. Whether you’re dissatisfied with your bank, insurance provider, or other financial institution, AFCA provides a mechanism to address your concerns. This article explains the process of lodging a complaint with AFCA and how to seek resolution for your financial dispute.

1. Determine that your complaint is eligible

Before proceeding, it’s essential to ensure that your complaint falls within AFCA’s jurisdiction. AFCA handles complaints related to various financial services, including banking, insurance, superannuation, investments, and credit. Your complaint should involve a financial firm that is a member of AFCA. You can check AFCA’s website or contact them to confirm if your issue is eligible.

2. Contact your financial firm first

In most cases, AFCA expects complainants to attempt to resolve the issue directly with the financial firm before involving AFCA. Contact the firm’s customer service or complaints department and explain your concerns. Make a record of your communication, including dates and names of individuals you spoke with. You should go through any internal review process that is applicable as well before making your complaint to ACFA.

3. Gather relevant documents and information

To support your complaint, gather all relevant documents, correspondence, and evidence related to your issue. This might include contracts, statements, emails, or any other records that can help AFCA assess your case accurately.

4. Lodge your complaint online

AFCA offers a user-friendly online complaint lodgment process:

  1. Visit the AFCA website at
  2. Click on the “Make a Complaint” option.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to create an account or log in if you already have one.
  4. Fill out the online complaint form, providing detailed information about your issue, the financial firm involved, and your desired resolution.
  5. Upload any supporting documents when prompted.
  6. Review your complaint for accuracy and completeness before submission.

5. Await AFCA’s response

After submitting your complaint, AFCA will acknowledge receipt of your application and assign a case manager to your dispute. They will review the information you provided and may request additional details or documents if necessary.

6. Participate in the resolution process

AFCA encourages open communication between all parties involved. Your case manager will facilitate discussions between you and the financial firm to reach a resolution. Be prepared to engage in these discussions and provide any requested information promptly.

7. Accept or reject the outcome

Once a resolution is proposed, AFCA will provide you with a formal decision. You can choose to accept or reject the outcome. If you accept, the financial firm is bound by AFCA’s decision and must comply with it. If you reject the decision, you may need to explore other legal avenues for redress.

8. AFCA’s Decision

If you accept the decision or AFCA makes a determination on your behalf, the financial firm is legally obligated to comply. AFCA will ensure the resolution is implemented. You may wish to obtain legal advice regarding any step of this process, a lawyer can assist you through the process if you require and can also provide advice regarding any subsequent legal proceedings if you are not satisfied.

Lodging a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority is a practical way to seek resolution when you are dissatisfied with a financial firm’s services or actions. AFCA’s mission is to provide a fair and impartial resolution to financial disputes, ensuring that consumers and small businesses have a voice and a mechanism for seeking justice in the financial sector. You can contact us at Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers on 1800 059 278 or via our Contact Page if you need help or advice regarding any financial complaint, you have and one of our lawyers will assist you.

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