Need to complain about your bank? The process has changed


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There's a new complaints scheme on the block. From November 1 if you have a complaint about your financial service provider you can contact Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

It replaces the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) so that consumers have access to a single external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme.

Before you jump on the phone to AFCA though you need to give the organisation an opportunity to resolve the issue before you take it any further. AFCA, or any dispute resolution scheme for that matter, will want you to at least attempt resolution with the firm first.

australian financial complaints authority afca complaint

Here are tips for making a complaint:

- Contact the service provider directly and outline your complaint.

- Be clear about what happened, why you're unhappy and how you'd like the matter resolved. Staying calm, confident and polite will help your case more than taking out your frustration out on the person you're speaking to.

- Keep notes on who you spoke to, when you spoke to them and what you've been told.

- Keep copies of any relevant documents, receipts or letters.

- If talking doesn't help, your next step should be to write a letter or send an email. It should be factual and to the point.

-If you don't hear anything from the company, make sure you follow it up. Ask what is happening and don't let them put you off.

If you are not happy with the response you receive from the company or it doesn't respond in a reasonable time then get in touch with AFCA on 1800 931 678 and explain your situation.

They will be able to let you know whether you can take the issue further and if so, what you need to do. You can also visit the website for more information.

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Maria Bekiaris is editorial campaigns manager for Canstar and former deputy editor of Money. She holds a Bachelor's degree in business.

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