The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has released its 2019-20 Annual Review, revealing the number of complaints received and closed, the amount awarded to consumers in compensation and refunds, and the ombudsman’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief Ombudsman and Chief Executive Officer David Locke said, “The coronavirus pandemic is one of the most challenging health and economic crises Australia has ever experienced. It has had a significant impact on Australian consumers, small businesses, and the Australian financial services industry.”
According to the AFCA Annual Review, between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020 AFCA received 80,546 complaints from consumers and small businesses, which is a 14 per cent increase in the monthly average compared to the last financial year.
The ombudsman resolved 76,681 complaints during the 2019-20 financial year, and awarded or obtained $258.6 million in compensation or refunds to complainants.
A majority of complaints (58 per cent) lodged with AFCA in this period related to banking and finance, followed by general insurance (24 per cent), superannuation (9 per cent), investments and advice (6 per cent) and life insurance (2 per cent).
Credit cards were the most complained about product (with 11,628 complaints), followed by home loans (7,608), personal loans (5,722) and motor vehicle comprehensive insurance (4,104).
Locke said AFCA worked hard to respond to the challenge of the pandemic in a flexible and pragmatic way to help complainants and financial firms resolve financial complaints quickly, understanding there were high levels of stress and uncertainty on both sides.
You can access the complete review on the AFCA website.