Enhancing the Internal Dispute Resolution Processes of Financial Firms for Consumer Complaints
Competition and Consumer Law Journal, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 23-53, 2019
30 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2019
Date Written: August 23, 2019
Internal dispute resolution (IDR) is an essential part of the dispute resolution framework for resolving the complaints by consumers about products or services provided by Australian financial firms. Consumers must first raise their complaint with the financial firm before they can ask the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) to resolve their dispute. However, there are concerning problems with current IDR procedures and practices. Financial firms are not consistently meeting the IDR requirements of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and some financial firms are failing to identify and record complaints. Reporting of IDR complaints by financial firms is also inconsistent, making it difficult to assess the effectiveness of IDR processes. The authors argue that the IDR processes of financial firms for dealing with consumer complaints require improvement and there is a need for greater transparency and oversight of these processes. There are promising reforms in progress — the implementation by ASIC of the IDR data reporting reforms that were introduced with the establishment of AFCA, as well as other proposed complementary revisions to ASIC’s Regulatory Guide 165 on IDR. If properly monitored and enforced, such changes should improve the IDR experience of consumers.
Keywords: consumer complaints, dispute resolution, financial firms, consumer protection
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