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Resolving credit disputes

Information about the alternative dispute resolution procedures under the new credit laws.

Contact the lender

The parties must try to resolve disputes between themselves before using external dispute resolution.

The Act makes it clear that any lender who is licensed to provide consumer credit must have an internal dispute mechanism process. This process must comply with the regulations and the creditor must have a written plan for acting on disputes.

It the lender and borrower are not able to reach an agreement they can use a dispute resolution service.

Compensation arrangements

The creditor must have a plan for compensating people who may suffer a loss that is due to any failure by the creditor or their agents to comply with the law.

Dispute resolution service

All registered credit providers under the credit code must be members of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), which has been approved by he Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). AFCA is also known as the external dispute resolution scheme. The scheme must cover all disputes in relation to credit activities that the credit provider is engaged in.

As part Act's responsible lending conduct requirements, creditors must tell the consumer about how any disputes will be resolved. This information is to be included in the credit guides that are provided to consumers before they enter a credit contract that is covered by the code.

This applies to:

  • credit assistance providers
  • credit providers
  • credit representatives
  • lessors
  • debt collectors.

Information about the debtor's rights in relation to dispute resolution are included in 'information statements' (see forms). This information must include the name, phone, address and website of the service.

Dispute resolution is free.

See AFCA—Make a complaint(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth)

  • s. 11—defines external dispute resolution scheme
  • s. 47—obligation to have an internal dispute resolution plan
  • s. 48—requirement for compensation arrangements
  • s. 113(2)(h)—dispute resolution disclosure obligation for providers of credit assistance
  • s. 126(2)(e)—dispute resolution disclosure obligation for credit providers
  • s. 158(2)(h)—dispute resolution disclosure obligation for credit representatives
  • s. 160(3)(f)—dispute resolution disclosure obligation for debt collectors

See National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth)(opens in a new window)

National Consumer Credit Protection Regulations 2010 (Cth)

  • r. 10—What ASIC must consider when deciding whether to approve an alternative dispute resolution system
  • Chapter 3—responsible lending conduct

See National Consumer Credit Protection Regulations 2010 (Cth)(opens in a new window)

Reference

Australian Financial Complaints Authority

The authority may be able to help someone to sort out a dispute with their financial services provider. The list of members are available from the authority's website under 'Find a financial firm or superannuation fund'.

A person may lodge a dispute claim online. They can also write to AFCA or contact the authority by phone to complain.

See:

Updated