Financial difficulty information for commercial fee-charging representatives
If a fee-charging representative, or an authorised agent, is seeking consideration for their client’s financial difficulty, we require the representative to provide specific information and documentation at the time of making a complaint with us. This includes:
- the information required under information for commercial fee-charging representatives
- a completed statement of financial position
- reasons for their client’s financial difficulty
- an outline of how their client’s circumstances will change (if they have not already done so)
- a summary of the assistance being requested of the financial firm.
We expect that the fee-charging representative should also be willing to facilitate timely negotiations between their client and the financial firm. In some circumstances, we may decide that a fee-charging representative is not acting in the best interests of their client. If we form this view, we may cease to consider the complaint further. This may arise if we consider that the representative is not actively working with their client, AFCA and the financial firm to find a solution that may see their client’s financial difficulty overcome, and is instead using our service to delay collection activity.
Some fee-charging representatives may try to use our service to negotiate a settle-for-less outcome for their client. For example – to pay a reduced amount in full and final settlement. We cannot request a financial firm waive any portion of an outstanding debt if that debt is validly incurred by the complainant. Any decision by a financial firm to reduce such a debt is normally done purely on a commercial basis.
If a fee-charging representative continues to seek a settle-for-less outcome for their client after a financial firm has declined the request, we may cease to consider the complaint further, unless the complainant is able to provide an alternate repayment proposal that will see the entire debt repaid within a reasonable time.