How do I make a complaint?

You can make a complaint about your financial service provider (provider) by:

Everyone who provides a financial service to the public must belong to a financial dispute resolution service.

We can only consider complaints about providers who are members of FSCL. Your provider may belong to FSCL, but they may belong to one of three other dispute resolution services; Banking Ombudsman Scheme (BOS), Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman (IFSO) or Financial Disputes Resolution Service (FDRS).

If your provider does not belong to FSCL, we will refer you to your provider’s dispute resolution service.

What happens when I make a complaint?

We will send your complaint to your provider to give them the opportunity to resolve it directly with you. However, if your provider has given you their final response, or said their internal complaints process is completed, we may be able to start our investigation immediately.

What will my provider do about the complaint?

Your provider:

  • will investigate your complaint
  • may contact you to discuss your complaint
  • will give you their response to your complaint.

When can I expect to hear from my provider?

Your provider should contact you within 2-3 working days, to let you know they have received your complaint.

We would expect your provider to have resolved your complaint within 20 working days. However, some complaints are complicated and may require you to provide more information, and may take up to 40 working days. If your complaint is not resolved after 40 working days, we will start our investigation.

What if I do not accept my provider’s response to my complaint?

Please let us know and we will likely start our investigation into your complaint.

It is helpful if you tell us what you think the provider has done wrong and what you would like to happen to put things right. We will then ask you to complete a permission to release information form to allow your provider to give us information about your complaint.

How do FSCL investigate a complaint?

We will ask your provider to give us their response to your complaint, together with all the information we need to investigate. We will send all this information to you.

We are likely to talk to you and your provider to discuss options for resolving your complaint. We may be able to help you both agree to a resolution you can accept.

What kind of resolution can I expect?

If we uphold the complaint, we aim to return you to the position you would have been in before the events you are complaining about happened.

We can award compensation of up to $350,000 for financial loss – this is money you have lost as a direct result of your provider’s actions or inaction.

We can also award compensation of up to $5,000 for non-financial loss, like stress, inconvenience, and disruption to plans. You can find out more in our compensation guide.

What happens if my complaint is not resolved?

If you and your provider can’t agree on how to resolve your complaint, our Financial Ombudsman will review all the information and give you her preliminary decision.

If both parties accept the preliminary decision, we may ask you to sign a settlement form or agreement and the complaint will end there.

If one party (or both parties) does not accept the preliminary decision, the Financial Ombudsman will consider what both parties have to say about the preliminary decision and she will give her final decision on the complaint.

Do I have to accept the final decision?

You do not have to accept the final decision. If you disagree with the decision, you can take your complaint to any other avenue that may be available, for example, the Disputes Tribunal.

Does my provider have to accept the final decision?

If you accept the final decision, your provider must accept it. We will ask you to sign a settlement form or agreement. This brings your complaint to an end, and you cannot take your complaint anywhere else.