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70k financial complaints lodged with AFCA in 2020-21

By Reporter
  • July 05 2021
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Borrow

70k financial complaints lodged with AFCA in 2020-21

By Reporter
July 05 2021

Aussies lodged over 70,000 complains against banks, insurers, super funds, investment firms and financial advisers over the past 12 months, securing as much as $240 million in compensation and refunds.

70k financial complaints lodged with AFCA in 2020-21

70k financial complaints lodged with AFCA in 2020-21

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By Reporter
  • July 05 2021
  • Share

Aussies lodged over 70,000 complains against banks, insurers, super funds, investment firms and financial advisers over the past 12 months, securing as much as $240 million in compensation and refunds.

70k financial complaints lodged with AFCA in 2020-21

Australians lodged 70,510 complaints with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) over the past year, securing over $240 million in compensation and refunds as well as outcomes such as fee waivers, debt forgiveness and apologies.

In addition, AFCA’s investigations into a range of systemic issues resulted in remediation payments to consumers totalling nearly $32 million in the past financial year. 

The most complained-about product in 2020-21 was credit cards, accounting for 14 per cent of all complains, followed by home loans (9 per cent) and personal transaction accounts (8 per cent). With credit cards, the most common issues were default listings and unauthorised transactions – the latter accounting for 11 per cent of card complaints.  

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“Significantly, complaints involving financial difficulty were down nearly 40 per cent from the numbers we saw the previous year,” AFCA’s chief ombudsman, David Locke, said.

“That’s a great outcome and reflects the positive response from government and industry to the impact of COVID.”

However, it’s too early to say “we’re out of the woods”, Mr Locke noted.

“It may be some months before we know the full impact of the end of government emergency support and assistance from financial firms such as deferred loan repayments. And, of course, we are still living with COVID-19,” he cautioned.

Overall, complaints were down 12 per cent on 2019-20, a year that included the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic and a spike in complaints in areas such as travel insurance. 

In 2020-21, there were 8,303 COVID-related complaints, up from 5,013 in just four months at the end of 2019-20 after the pandemic was officially declared. That translates to an average of 692 a month in 2020-21, down sharply from an average of 1,253 a month from March through June 2020. 

The AFCA data for 2020-21 also shows travel insurance complaints down 22 per cent, as Australians stayed at home, and superannuation complaints down 31 per cent, after a jump the prior year when the government allowed the early release of super at the start of COVID.

On the other hand, complaints related to personal transaction accounts rose 48 per cent, with unauthorised transactions accounting for 29 per cent of those complaints. Also, complaints about electronic banking increased 76 per cent, with unauthorised transactions accounting for 28 per cent of those complaints, and mistaken internet payments accounting for a further 19 per cent. 

70k financial complaints lodged with AFCA in 2020-21
70k financial complaints lodged with AFCA in 2020-21
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