Sometimes, you may have a problem with a product or service you receive from your bank. Under the Code of Banking Practice, your bank must have a procedure in place to deal with complaints.
Your first move should be to contact your bank and see if they can deal with your complaint. In many cases, the dispute will be resolved internally by the bank with no further action required.
However, if your bank doesn’t resolve the dispute to your satisfaction, you can take your complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), which is an external dispute resolution scheme.
Use the following steps to try to resolve a problem with your bank:
Step 1: Contact your bank and tell them about your problem
A customer service representative should be able to assist when you first contact the bank. If your bank can’t resolve your problem then and there, it will take the following steps:
- let you know who is handling your complaint;
- keep you informed of what is happening;
- aim to resolve your complaint within a specified time. Fortunately, most complaints can be quickly sorted out at this stage. If this is not the case, you may need to go to step 2.
Step 2: Make a formal complaint to the bank
Your bank will have a process for handling formal complaints. There may be a Customer Relations Manager or Complaints Manager who will investigate the complaint. The bank will notify you of the name and contact details of this person. Some banks have Customer Advocates who can make an independent assessment of your complaint and help achieve a quick and unbiased solution.
If the dispute cannot be resolved to your satisfaction internally, your next move is to take your complaint to an external dispute resolution scheme for independent review.
Step 3: Make a complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is an independent complaints scheme that is free for consumers. It provides an accessible way of resolving disputes, without having to go to court. The decision of the AFCA is binding on the bank. Only go to the AFCA after you have tried to resolve things with your bank, as AFCA will not deal with your complaint unless you have first given the bank the chance to put things right.