WHAT TO DO IF YOU FEEL YOU MAY HAVE BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY BY YOUR BANK
In the aftermath of the Banking Royal Commission, many of us are cynical of the big banks and we almost expect them to treat us unfairly. But we shouldn’t accept exploitation from the big end of town just because it’s become the norm.
At FourLion Legal we have helped many clients negotiate with banks and lenders after some dodgy dealings. Here’s our how-to checklist on how to handle it.
Step 1: Don’t Procrastinate!
When it feels like a bank might have done something wrong, many of us don’t know where to start. Banks are intimidatingly well-resourced, and we don’t want to make anything worse for ourselves.
But waiting around can be a costly mistake, especially when there is interest accruing on a loan or line of credit and, if you are in default, the bank’s legal and/or collection fees, which can be significant. If you want to take action, make a start as soon as possible.
Also you may have a limited time to make a claim or complaint about the Bank’s conduct.
Step 2: Make an Internal Complaint
You would be surprised how often complaining to a bank directly can have positive results, especially if you are a long-time customer that the bank wants to retain. Your complaint should clearly set out why you think you have been treated unfairly, and set out the outcome that you believe is appropriate.
Many of the big banks also have an independent customer advocate, who will undertake an impartial review of your complaint and make recommendations to the bank.
Step 3: Complain to AFCA
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is an independent body that assists consumers and small businesses with complaints against financial firms. The AFCA process is free and confidential and AFCA decisions are binding on the bank.
The AFCA website (www.afca.org.au) has fantastic resources for consumers on how and why complaints can be made.
Step 4: Consider Legal Proceedings
Whilst legal proceedings can be costly, there are many possible actions that you can take against a bank that has treated you unfairly. Australian consumers are protected by legislation such as the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009, the Australian Consumer Law, and in equity.
What can you do now?
If you have a feeling that your bank just hasn’t done the right thing and want to get some preliminary advice on what you should do, please contact the team at FourLion Legal.
This article is intended to provide general information in summary form. The contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.