This NGO has awarded $145m in compensation for financial errors
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The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has received in excess of 60,000 financial complaints and has awarded nearly $145m in its first 10 months of operation.
The AFCA, founded in November last year, is a non-government organisation providing free and independent help with financial disputes.
The organisation is currently conducting a national roadshow offering free financial fairness checks aimed at raising awareness of its services.
It labels itself a “one-stop shop” for consumers and small businesses with complaints about financial firms, including banks, credit and insurance organisations, investments, financial advice and superannuation.
Its chief ombudsman and CEO, David Locke, says less than half of people with a concern will lodge a formal complaint.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“It’s confusing to work out what to do when something does go wrong – which is why AFCA is travelling 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.”
AFCA says part of its campaign is to inform people 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 will accept legacy complaints until June 30, 2020.
It says its services are an alternative to tribunals and courts.