The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has updated its online comparative reporting tool, the AFCA Datacube, to include information about all financial complaints lodged with it from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.
This allows historical comparison with complaints data from AFCA’s inception on 1 November 2018.
The AFCA Datacube allows anyone to see how insurers, banks, financial advisers, superannuation funds or other financial firms handle consumer complaints that are escalated to the Ombudsman.
AFCA’s CEO and Chief Ombudsman David Locke said: “This free tool provides the public with transparent and accessible information about complaints handling right across the financial services sector. It also allows financial firms to see how their complaints handling compares with others in the market.”
The AFCA Datacube includes information about the number of complaints lodged about a financial firm, how long it takes a firm to resolve a complaint and whether a financial firm responds to complaints in a timely manner. It also allows people to compare financial firms side-by-side.
“The data released today covers complaints lodged up to 30 June 2020. The early impact of COVID-19 can be seen in the spikes in complaints relating to travel insurance and early access to superannuation in particular.”
“With so many travel plans impacted, it was inevitable that there would be a big increase in travel insurance claims as well as disputes regarding ‘chargeback’ requests on credit cards,” Mr. Locke said.
“With the early access to superannuation, complaints initially related to delays in payments. It was challenging for many superannuation funds to process such a high number of requests in a short period of time. AFCA worked proactively with the funds to resolve consumer concerns as they arose and to learn any lessons before the second phase of withdrawal requests commenced in early July 2020.”
“This resulted in far fewer complaints during the second early release application period and it meant consumers were able to get their money sooner.”
Mr. Locke commended the banks for also responding positively to unprecedented numbers of requests for loan repayment deferrals but encouraged people who are in financial difficulty to seek help now, rather than wait.
“If you are struggling to make repayments, we urge you to contact your bank to discuss the best long-term solution for your circumstances. The banks have committed to being fair and reasonable in dealings with consumers and to tailor solutions to their individual needs. It’s never a good idea to ignore calls and contact from your bank or lender.
“If you are worried about your circumstances and need independent advice, you can contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or visit ndh.org.au.”
“Where consumers are in financial difficulty and have been unable to reach an agreement with the lender themselves, they can bring the matter to AFCA who may be able to assist to resolve the impasse.”
Explore the Datacube here: data.afca.org.au
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AFCA Media Release 23/09/2020