Making a complaint about a financial firm

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) can assist you to resolve your small businesses complaint about a financial firm.

We follow a complaint resolution process, and any determinations we make are binding on the financial firm. Our service is free to access. If you need more support, there are third party agencies you can talk to.

How we define ‘small business’

AFCA defines a small business as an organisation with less than 100 employees.

This can be a partnership, incorporated trustee or a company (whether a primary production business or otherwise).

We also consider complaints from not-for-profit organisations, or clubs that are not registered charities if they carry on a business and have less than 100 employees.

If you are a registered charity, we can consider your complaint regardless of how many people you employ and whether or not you carry on a business.

For a business that is a part of a group of related companies, there is an important exclusion. We cannot consider your complaint if the group has 100 employees or more.

For most businesses, it will be clear whether the number of employees is above or below the 100-employee threshold. For a business with employee numbers that fluctuate around that threshold, we will require substantiation (such as wage records) of the number of employees at the time of the events giving rise to the claim against the financial firm.

In the case of a business under external administration, or an individual who is bankrupt, we are generally only able to consider the complaint if the consent of the insolvency practitioner (such as liquidator or trustee in bankruptcy) is obtained. This will not, however, be the case for a superannuation complaint that relates to a bankrupt superannuation fund member’s benefit that has not vested in the member’s trustee in bankruptcy.

Superannuation Complaints can only be made by individuals. You can find out more about eligibility requirements in our Rules.

Outcomes and caps

There are only certain outcomes we can provide. These include compensation for direct and indirect financial loss, as well as non-financial loss. Monetary caps also apply to any outcomes we can provide in relation to non-superannuation complaints.

Not sure if we can consider your complaint?

If you’re not sure if you have a complaint that we can consider, we recommend you submit your information to us anyway so we can review it and discuss it with you.

If you lodge a complaint with us and we can’t resolve it for you because it doesn’t meet the requirements of our Rules, there are other places you can go for help.

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Who and what you can complain about

It is compulsory for all licenced financial services providers in Australia to be an AFCA member and to participate in the AFCA process. You can check if your financial firm is an AFCA member using our online search tool.

Credit complaints

We can consider complaints about business finance that you use for your small business, such as credit cards, loans, commercial bills, hire purchase or leases where you are buying goods by making payments in instalments. We can also consider complaints about letters of credit, lines of credit and overdrafts.

Credit facility over $5 million

We cannot consider a complaint about a Small Business credit facility that exceeds $5 million.

A credit facility may include a loan, lease, line of credit, guarantee or other debt instrument, or a combination of these if approved under the same credit contract or at the same time. The exclusion of Small Business credit facilities over $5 million applies whether the Complainant is the borrower or a guarantor of the credit facility.

Read more information about credit, loans and finance complaints

Insurance complaints

This information is provided in additional to the general information about insurance complaints available.

We can consider complaints from your small business about some types of insurance. There are exclusions that apply specifically to insurance complaints.

Our jurisdiction to consider complaints about general insurance products is limited by reference to the product type. We cannot consider complaints about small business insurance products, except those listed below.

We can also consider a complaint about an insurance broker’s conduct in following instructions or arranging the policy, or if the complaint is about an insurer’s decision or conduct in respect of a small business insurance product.

We cannot consider cover in relation to Contractors All Risks; Fidelity Guarantee; Legal Liability (including Public Liability and Products Liability); Professional Indemnity; and Industrial Special Risks in respect of a Small Business Insurance Product.

However just because we cannot consider complaints in respect of these excluded types of cover does not mean that we have no jurisdiction over these excluded types of policies. Industrial Special Risks policies are specifically drafted for a particular industry or segment of that industry. We cannot consider complaints about industrial special risks insurance cover, but we can consider certain cover within an industrial special risks policy.

See our Rules and Operational Guidelines for more detail regarding these exclusions.

Types of insurance cover we may consider complaints about:

  • Computer and electronic breakdown: Insurance that provides cover against computer and other electronic equipment breakdown.
  • Fire or accidental damage: Insurance cover provided in the event of fire or accidental damage.
  • Glass: Insurance cover provided in the event of glass breakage (e.g. shop fronts).
  • General Property: Insurance cover for business or work tools against damage.
  • Loss of profits/business interruption: Insurance cover that is designed to cover a business should something happen that causes the company to be unable to operate.
  • Machinery breakdowns: Insurance that provides cover for the costs incurred in reinstatement, replacement and/or repair of mechanical and electrical equipment following accidental damage or mechanical breakdown.
  • Money: Insurance that provides indemnity following the theft or loss of money.
  • Theft: Insurance that provides indemnity following an act of theft.

 

 

We also consider complaints about:

  • Medical indemnity insurance: Medical indemnity insurance protects a medical business and its employees when they are sued for an act, error or omission in relation to professional services.

 

Banking deposits and payments

We can consider complaints about your business banking accounts, including:

  • Business transaction accounts: A deposit account used by businesses for everyday transactions.
  • Foreign currency accounts: A deposit account which holds funds in a foreign currency or currencies. The complaint must arise from a contract arising under Australian law.

We also consider complaints about a range of other banking deposit and payment products that you use in your small business – these include online payment methods, bank drafts and merchant facilities.

 

Investments and financial advice

There are a range of investment and financial advice products you can complain about. This page provides more information about the specific investment and financial advice products and issues we consider.

Superannuation

A small business can’t complain about superannuation – only an individual can. Find out more about superannuation complaints.

Not sure if we can consider your complaint?

If you’re not sure if you have a complaint that we can consider, we recommend you submit your information to us anyway so we can review it and discuss it with you.

If you lodge a complaint with us and we can’t resolve it for you because it doesn’t meet the requirements of our Rules, there are other places you can go for help.

Making a complaint about a financial firm

You can complain to AFCA using our online form. You can use our Live Chat to ask questions or get help to fill in the form.

Submit a complaint online

Other ways to complain

If you prefer you can also download, print and fill in a PDF of the complaint form. We also accept complaints via email to info@afca.org.au or telephone on 1800 931 678

Download a PDF form