The Australian Financial Complaints Authority or ‘AFCA’ is the Financial Ombudsman and external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme to deal with complaints from consumers in the financial system. It is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee authorised by the responsible minister. Most Timeshare Clubs must be a member of AFCA.
AFCA has replaced the three existing EDR schemes of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) so that consumers have access to a single EDR scheme.
AFCA’s role is to assist consumers and small businesses to reach agreements with financial firms about how to resolve their complaints. They are impartial and independent. They do not act for either party to advocate their position. If a complaint does not resolve between the parties, AFCA will decide an appropriate outcome.
Membership of AFCA will be required under law or a licence condition of a financial firm. AFCA operations will be financed by contributions made by its members. The scheme will be free to consumers. AFCA will:
- be the single point of contact for complainants for EDR services;
- have higher monetary limits;
- be more accountable to users, including by having an independent assessor to deal with complaints about its handling of disputes; and
- have rules (terms of reference) to support its dispute resolution functions and legislation in the case of superannuation disputes.