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AFCA hit by 40 per cent more finance complaints than expected

The government’s financial dispute authority is pushing banks to go beyond merely complying with the law and consider “fairness” when dealing with customer disagreements after it was swamped by complaints in its first 10 months.

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), which launched late last year following a merger of several ombudsman schemes, has signalled it will be asking firms to explicitly consider whether they had done “the right thing” by customers when assessing disputes.

AFCA deputy chief ombudsman June Smith expects a change in banks' behaviour when handling complaints.

AFCA deputy chief ombudsman June Smith expects a change in banks’ behaviour when handling complaints.

As the authority launches a roadshow offering “financial fairness checks” to consumers later this month, AFCA deputy chief ombudsman June Smith said that in its first 10 months, the authority had received more than 60,687 complaints from consumers.

“We’ve closed almost 73 per cent of those, but we are around 40 per cent above the projected figure that we estimated we would get when we opened the doors for business,” Dr Smith said in an interview.

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