- Complaints that FSCL deals with
- Complaints that FSCL cannot deal with
- Our Complaints Process
- Privacy and confidentiality
- Fairness and Decisions
- Independence and Impartiality
Complaints that FSCL deals with
What types of complaints do you look at?
We look at complaints about most financial services and products including:
- Financial planning
- Financial advice and investments
- Insurance broking
- Mortgage and finance broking
- Stock broking
- Loans and credit
- Superannuation funds
- Managed funds
- Funds transfers
- Foreign exchange
- Card services
Typical complaints are:
- Misleading information or inappropriate advice.
- Suitability of product for the consumer\'s needs.
- Non-disclosure of fees and/or terms of the contract.
- Transaction disputes.
We are able to investigate claims for amounts up to $200,000, and we can require a participant to pay compensation up to $200,000.
We can also award compensation up to $500 for inconvenience.
Our terms of reference will give you more information about the types of complaints we can investigate.
Who can I make a complaint against?
See our List of Participants.
Complaints that FSCL cannot deal with
What type of complaints can't you look at?
FSCL is not able to look at complaints:
- about the level of standard fees, premiums and charges (except for complaints about non-disclosure, misrepresentation, or incorrect application for the fee, premium or charge).
- about the investment performance of a fund or product.
- about a participant's commercial judgment in a lending, security or insurance matter. FSCL can look at complaints about maladministration in a lending, security or insurance matter.
- about underwriting factors leading to an offer of insurance on non-standard terms.
- if the complaint has already been to a court or has been investigated by another approved dispute resolution scheme or the reserve scheme.
- where the act or omission complained about occurred before 1 April 2010
- where the complainant has known, or should reasonably have known, all the relevant facts of the complaint, including the right to bring a complaint to FSCL, for more than 6 months before first notifying the complaint to FSCL.
- where the loss claimed is more than $200,000.
Our Complaints Process
How do I make a complaint?
As a first step, you should contact your financial service provider to discuss your complaint or concern. We suggest you tell your financial service provider how you would like your complaint resolved. Your financial service provider will often be able to resolve the complaint directly with you.
If you are unable to resolve the complaint directly with your financial service provider and/or have received a letter of "deadlock" from your financial service provider, you can send us your complaint. Please Contact Us.
What happens next?
Our review of the complaint begins.
When we receive your complaint, we will check to see that it is a complaint that we can investigate. There are some complaints that we cannot investigate (see above). We will also ask you to sign a waiver of confidentiality. If we can investigate your complaint, we will allocate your complaint to a case manager, who will then contact you. We advise the financial service provider of your complaint and give the financial service provider one last opportunity to resolve your complaint, or provide us with a full report, within 20 working days.
Where can I view the full complaints process?
The full complaints process can be viewed on the How to Complain page.
How long does the process take?
That depends on several factors, including the complexity of the claim or the availability of all the documents and people we need to talk to.
In general, we aim to resolve complaints within 75 working days. Complex cases can take longer to resolve, and many cases can be resolved more quickly. We will keep you informed of our progress on your complaint.
Is there a charge?
No, our service is free to consumers.
Do I need a lawyer?
No. Our process is a free and informal alternative to going to Court. In most cases, you should not need a lawyer or other expert assistance. If you do decide to use a lawyer you will probably have to pay the legal costs yourself.
Privacy and confidentiality
Is my information confidential?
Yes. Our process and decisions are confidential. Before starting our investigation, we will ask you to sign a waiver of confidentiality. This allows us to obtain all the information we need about your complaint from your financial service provider. We do not share this information with any third parties, except with your consent.
We produce case studies to communicate and inform people about the cases we have investigated, but we do not release information in way that could indentify you.
Fairness and Decisions
How do you investigate cases?
We are impartial and do not take sides.
In most cases we will try to negotiate a settlement between you and your financial services provider that is fair to both sides. This may involve conciliation or mediation.
If a negotiated settlement is not possible, and after reviewing all of the facts, our CEO or Panel will make a decision based on what is fair in the circumstances to both parties. We look at:
- the law and relevant cases.
- relevant industry codes of practice and/or standards.
If we recommend payment of compensation, it will aim to put you back in the financial position in which you should have been if the problem had not arisen. We may also recommend compensation for inconvenience (stress and embarrassment).
If we believe the financial services provider has acted fairly, or has made you a reasonable offer, we will tell you so.
Does the the financial service provider have to follow your recommendation?
Yes, any recommendation or determination is binding on the financial services provider.
Do I have to accept your recommendation or determination?
No. If you remain unsatisfied, you are able to take other action, such as legal action.
If you do accept our recommendation or determination, it has to be in full and final settlement of your claim, and we will ask you to sign a "full and final" settlement form before your financial service provider pays you any compensation.
Independence and Impartiality
Are you Impartial?
We are neither a consumer advocate, nor an apologist for our participants. It is important that we remain impartial so both sides to the complaint know they are getting a fair hearing.
This also means that we do not give financial or legal advice to you or our participants.
Do you fine or discipline your participants?
No. FSCL is not a regulator and cannot impose fines on or discipline our participants or their employees.
FSCL's powers are compensatory only.
Who pays for FSCL’s operating costs?
All of our participants pay an annual fee based on the size and scale of their business. Participants also pay fees for any cases that we investigate against them.