If you think that you have been wronged in a financial transaction, have been provided erroneous financial advice, or are being treated wrongly by a debt collector, you can take action to recoup any losses you incurred.
While the government has set up a system to help those consumers who feel they have been mistreated an opportunity to seek justice, it is important that you follow the correct steps when making a claim.
Speak Directly to the Company about the Situation
Before you take any type of formal action, it is required that you first try to resolve the issue by contacting the company where the incident took place directly. You can either go to the business in person or over the phone. Explain the entire situation to the company, but try to be as concise and to-the-point as possible. In addition to explaining the problem, also let the company know what type of resolution you want. Nearly all disputes are handled at this lower level, since most companies try to work with their customers.
Contact the Company’s Main Office
If talking to the local representative for the company does not produce the results you were looking for, ask them directly for the contact information for the company’s main headquarters. You will want to contact the main headquarters as soon as possible and ask them what steps are involved in their complaint process. You should follow up any phone conversation with a letter or email that clearly outlines the problem.
In your letter, be sure to list all the facts and provide important details like the name of any employees you spoke to, any service dates you remember, and the location where the issue took place. If you have documentation that will back up your facts, be sure to include it with your letter or email. Do not forget to add your contact information in the letter or email and give the company several days to respond.
Utilise the External Dispute Resolution Scheme
If you do not hear back from the company within 90 days of sending your letter or email, or you do not get an appropriate resolution to your issue, you can now turn to the External Dispute Resolutions Scheme (EDR) for help. This provides unbiased and free services that work with both yourself and the company you are filing a complaint against to find a workable resolution that you both agree to. Below is a look at the top three EDR services in Australia.
Credit Ombudsman Services Limited. These services handle a wide array of financial issues, such as problems with credit unions, non-bank lenders, financial planners, building societies, credit representatives, and debt collectors. Whether you think you have been wrongly charged, not provided with promised services, or are being wrongfully harassed, you can bring your complaint to them. They can only handle claims that are $500,000 or under.
Financial Ombudsman Services. These services work with many different kinds of financial issues, including problems with banks and credit unions, insurance companies, financial planning, stockbrokerage, timeshare management, debt collectors, investment funding and more. It also only handles claims that are under $500,000.
Superannuation Compliant Tribunal. This service handles issues that involve retirement funding, and superannuation account. It can handle any issues of problems you are having with your super account or any faulty retirement planning and investment advice you received.
It is important that you understand that you must work through these steps in order, because the EDR services will not accept your compliant until you have tried to work it out directly with the company first. This is because they have limited resources and only enough time to intervene when the two parties cannot come to a compromise. However, if you are not getting the response from a financial service that you need, the complaint process can be very effective at helping you get the results you need.
Whilst going through this process you may also want to check to see if your credit has been impacted. Learn more about your credit here.
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