The Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams has welcomed the establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) which opened for business this month.
The new one-stop shop will deliver free, fast and binding service for all financial complaints, whether they relate to banks, credit providers, insurance companies or superannuation funds.
Senator Williams has been a long-time advocate for the new body and was involved in numerous discussions with industry and consumer groups as to its framework and powers.
He pushed for the higher monetary limits and compensation caps that had not been available under the old Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO), saying any new organisation would need “more teeth” so the public could have confidence in it.
“For example, FOS and CIO could only deal with consumer complaints where the value of the dispute was up to $500,000.
From today AFCA will hear those complaints where the value is up to $1 million and compensation has increased to $500,000.
Small business disputes that relate to a credit facility of up to $5 million, increased from $2 million, can now be heard, and the small business compensation cap increases from $323,500 to $1 million.
Good news for the farming community with the compensation cap for small business primary producers increased to $2 million.
I congratulate the Ministers who have listened and acted to ensure Australians with a grievance about how they have been treated by a financial institution get a fair hearing”, Senator Williams said.
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority can be contacted on 1800 931 678 or www.afca.org.au
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