AFCA is a free, fair and independent dispute resolution scheme. We consider complaints about financial products and services. AFCA’s service is offered as an alternative to tribunals and courts to resolve complaints consumers and small businesses have with their financial firms.
AFCA has a dedicated Government Relations team that regularly engages with all levels of government to discuss a range of issues.
We share our complaints data and insights with Ministers and departments to highlight the challenges both consumers and financial firms face.
Helping constituents use our service
If a constituent contacts you about an unresolved financial complaint, the first step is for them to raise a formal complaint with their financial firm. If the firm does not respond, or the consumer is not happy with the response, they can lodge a complaint with AFCA.
As an MP or Senator, you may:
- Direct the consumer to our website, or share our contact information, or
- Lodge a complaint on their behalf.
Find out more about the process we follow.
Before making a complaint to AFCA
Before making a complaint, we encourage consumers to go through their financial firm’s internal dispute resolution (IDR) process. Here are some tips to help you and your constituents navigate this:
- Make a formal complaint to the financial firm
- Gather any relevant documents that will help support the complaint
- If your constituent is experiencing financial difficulty, prepare a Statement of Financial Position
Find more detailed information about internal dispute resolution, including a document checklist here.
Getting a formal response from the financial firm
The financial firm should try to resolve the complaint in a timely way. There are mandatory time limits on how long a response should take – the financial firm can provide you with details on this.
Their IDR response should tell you:
- that their IDR process has concluded
- the final outcome of the complaint at IDR
- about the consumer’s right to take their complaint to AFCA if they are unhappy with the decision at IDR and provide AFCA’s contact details
- whether there are time limits to complain to AFCA and if they should act promptly, or otherwise consult the AFCA website to find out if, or when, the time limit relevant to their circumstances expires.
If the firm does not respond, or the consumer is not happy with the response, they can lodge a complaint with AFCA.
Acting as a representative
Our processes are designed so that consumers can bring a complaint to AFCA without the need for assistance. However, we understand that in some circumstances, consumers may seek representation for their complaint.
We accept complaints from MPs and Senators lodged on behalf of consumers.
This requires the consumer to give written authority for you to act on their behalf. They can do this by completing the Agent Authority form or by providing verbal authority over the phone.
Find out more about acting as a representative.
Accessibility and support available to consumers
AFCA is committed to providing a service that is accessible to everyone, including giving consumers the information they need, in a format that works for them.
If your constituent has accessibility needs, or otherwise requires support with their complaint, they can let us know when they first fill out their complaint form.
An AFCA staff member will contact them to discuss how they would prefer to communicate with us and any other assistance we can provide.
We can tailor our ways of working depending on individual circumstances, including using translation services and supporting mental health, vision, hearing and speech needs.
Find out more about accessibility and support.
Making a complaint about AFCA’s service
If your constituent is unhappy with our service, they can share their feedback by completing our feedback form. They can also share their experience with us via email, over the phone or in writing.
Find out more about feedback and complaints about our service.
Other places to get help
- ASIC MoneySmart – online financial guidance on managing money, borrowing and credit, insurance and more
- National Debt Helpline (1800 007 007) – free and confidential financial counselling services
- Consumer Credit Legal Centres – specialised legal advice, advocacy and counselling in financial services (by state)
- Insurance Law Service (1300 663 464) – free legal service available to anyone in Australia who would like advice on insurance law or in resolving a dispute with an insurer
- Other ombudsman schemes
- Community Legal Centres (02 9160 9500) – independent, not-for-profit community organisations that provide legal and related services, focusing on the disadvantaged and people with special needs
- Consumer Affairs – state bodies that address problems relating to consumer affairs or fair trading (by state)
- Legal Aid Commissions – services for disadvantaged clients in many areas of criminal, family and civil law, free legal advice and representation (by state)
- Brochures – introductory information about AFCA and how we can help, available to order
- AFCA Approach documents – a closer look at how AFCA deals with specific types of complaints
- Factsheets – short guides about common complaints and issues
- Significant events – information for people affect by severe weather and other events
- Language resources – information about AFCA is available in 20 languages
AFCA helps individuals and small businesses to resolve complaints about financial products and services.
We consider a wide range of financial complaints, including credit cards, loans and insurance. However, there are some types of complaints we can’t consider.
AFCA’s process is free, fair and effective. Learn more about how it works and the kind of outcomes AFCA can provide.