Our dispute handling process

There are five steps involved in handling a dispute. Some disputes take longer to resolve than others.

Step 1: Contact your financial services provider
As a first step, you should contact your financial services provider's consumer complaints area to discuss your issue, tell them what your concerns are and how you would like them to be resolved. In our experience, this is often the quickest way to resolve a dispute.

Step 2: Lodge a dispute with us
If contacting the financial services provider has not resolved the dispute, you can lodge a dispute with us.

If the financial services provider has not yet had an opportunity to resolve the dispute with you through its internal dispute resolution process, we will register the dispute. As part of our registration process, we will contact the financial services provider and ask it to respond to you directly. Generally, a dispute will be registered if:

  • it is less than 45 days since you made a complaint to the financial services provider; and
  • you are yet to receive a written response.

If you receive a written response from the financial services provider that does not resolve the dispute, or if you do not receive a response with 45 days of the date that you first complained to the financial services provider, you can then contact us again to progress the dispute. A different timeframe applies to disputes about difficulties meeting repayments on a credit facility such as a loan or credit card. You will find more information about our approach to such disputes on our consumer information page, in the Financial Difficulty section.

Step 3: Our review of the dispute begins
If your dispute remains unresolved after the financial services provider has had the opportunity to resolve the dispute with you directly, we will begin reviewing the dispute. The first thing we will consider is whether the dispute falls within our jurisdiction.

There are some things that we cannot deal with as these fall outside our jurisdiction. To find out more information about what we can and cannot deal with click here.

Step 4: How your dispute will be handled
We work with you and the financial services provider to try and resolve your dispute. We act independently by not taking sides. We aim to get a fair outcome for both parties to a dispute. We communicate with both parties by phone, email and letters.

Step 5: How your dispute will be resolved
Our dispute resolution methods may involve negotiation, conciliation, or reaching a decision. It is important that all information relating to your dispute is provided to assist in a timely resolution.

More information
More detailed information about our process
Guidance on what information to provide when lodging a dispute