The Australian Financial Complaints Authority, of AFCA, has made a public statement. In this statement, it reminded the public that the jurisdiction it holds to consider complaints going back to 2008 would officially end, doing so on the 1st of July, 2020
Legacy Jurisdictions No Longer Available
What this means, is as of the 1st of July, 2020, the AFCA will only have the ability to take in complaints where the complainant was made aware of said loss within the past six years, barring exceptions. Alternatively, a complaint will be considered if it was through the internal dispute resolution service of a financial firm as far as two years ago.
AFCA stands as the singular Australian external dispute resolution scheme, which allows for complaints regarding financial firms. Now, however, the dispute resolution scheme will be incapable of considering new lodgements when it comes to legacy complaints received from this date. Furthermore, the standard time limits of the AFCA will apply, as well.
Saving Grace For Complaints Already Made
It should be noted, however, that complaints under the legacy jurisdiction that had already been made, will continue to progress, and will suffer no changes in regards to how the AFCA will approach these complaints’ case management.
The AFCA noted that some cases that have fallen outside the mandated time limit may be considered yet. To do so, the AFCA must first contact the financial firm in question, in order for them to consent to the AFCA considering these complaints.
Influx of Complaints Under New Authority
Within the AFCA’s first year of operation, the country’s finance sector’s new ombudsman experienced a rapid influx of complaints being lodged. These complaints were leveled against insurance providers, banks, super funds, as well as other financial firms, with 73,272 complaints being lodged with it. When you crunch the numbers and compare it to the predecessor schemes that the AFCA had succeeded, this comes to an increase of 40% in total complaints as opposed to previous figures.
During the years of 2017 and 2018, the AFCA’s predecessors managed to receive an aggregate total of 52,232 complaints. As it stands now, the AFCA has awarded $185 million in compensation, doing so within the time period of the 1st of November, 2018, and the 31st of October, 2019.
It seems that Australia’s found a new way to handle disputes with financial firms. With any luck, the AFCA will find its rhythm, and a new successor need not be announced.