It can be very frustrating when you have a complaint relating to your banking. It is inevitable that things may go wrong at some point especially in the large institutions who are dealing with many customers. In Australia our banks are bound by a Code of Practice which stipulates a complaints procedure available to each person. Whilst complaints can be time consuming it can be easier if you know what to do.
What is the problem?
In the first instance you need to gather all the details relating to your complaint whether this be documents or questions you have. Make sure you have all dates, times and names of any people you have spoken to.
Visit or phone
Branches are usually the first point of contact for any issues especially if the complaint is specifically relating to something that occurred there. Be clear and concise when explaining your problem. Although it may be frustrating do not get angry or abuse staff members. This will not only distort the issue and may cause more problems for you but also remember the people working there are human beings. If possible speak to a Branch Manager. The staff may not be able to help you immediately and may refer you to a specific customer complaints phone line or representative. Most problems can be resolved easily at this level.
Lodge a formal complaint
If you were unable to negotiate a satisfactory solution to your problem you may need to lodge a formal complaint to the institutions consumer complaints team. Most of the institutions have a special team dedicated to resolving consumer complaints of which contact details should be provided in your terms and conditions or commonly now on their websites. Providing a written complaint gives a paper trail but institutions in most cases have up to 45 days to respond hence it might take some time.
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Contact Financial Ombudsman
After going through your financial provider, and if you still have not received satisfactory results you can lodge a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service. They will not look at your complaint unless you have followed the institutions internal complaints procedure. The FOS is an independent organisation who aims to gain a fair outcome for both parties involved. Whilst this service is free it may take time depending on how complicated the complaint is.
Remember to keep calm, and be clear about all the facts surrounding the issue. Also whilst you are engaged in the complaint process make sure you continue to make any repayments or bills to avoid further fees and charges. You first point of call is your financial institution. Make sure that you know their specific procedures for complaints handling.