07 Mar 2019 |
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is now open and here to assist small businesses.
Established in November 2018, AFCA provides fair, independent and effective external dispute resolution for small businesses and consumers.
We are a one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses with complaints about financial firms, including banks, credit providers, insurance companies, financial and investment advisers and superannuation funds.
This is a free service for small businesses and consumers to access.
AFCA replaces the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal.
AFCA’s capacity to deal with small business complaints is significantly greater than predecessor schemes.
We define a small business as having fewer than 100 employees (an increase from 20 employees), and we can consider complaints about small business credit facilities up to $5 million (previously $2 million
Importantly, the amount of compensation we can award per claim for such complaints has more than tripled, to $1 million ($2 million for primary producers). Different thresholds apply for other financial products and services.
For most matters, a complaint must be lodged with AFCA within six years of the complainant first becoming aware of the problem, or within two years of a response from the financial firm.
However, the Federal Government has recently announced that for a period of 12 months commencing 1 July 2019, AFCA can consider complaints back to 1 January 2008, based on our current scope and thresholds rather than those applying at the time.
We will be issuing guidance prior to 1 July 2019 to explain how small businesses can raise these matters with us.
Contact AFCA on 1800 931 678 or visit afca.org.au if you have a financial complaint or wish to know more about us and our processes.
Lead Ombudsman – Small Business
Australian Financial Complaints Authority
[Geoff was appointed the inaugural Lead Ombudsman – Small Business in February 2019. Previously he was the Victorian Small Business Commissioner.]