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Australian financial disputes rise during the first quarter of 2017

Posted: 2 May 2017 11:03 am

dispute businesswoman office phone call

The majority of issues pertained to credit and insurance.

New statistics show the number of financial disputes and disagreements registered with the member-funded Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) rose substantially during the first quarter 2017. However, there were fewer disputes accepted and more resolutions finalised, compared to the previous quarter.

The FOS released its latest quarterly statistics report for January-March 2017, revealing Aussies submitted 10,143 disputes. This represents a 6% hike on the previous quarter and an 18% year-on-year rise.

While the majority of disputes were related to credit (40%) and general insurance (32%), disputes across all product lines increased quarter-on-quarter, aside from traditional trustee services, which remained flat.

Disputes formally accepted by the FOS decreased 1% quarter-on-quarter. Banking and finance providers were able to resolve a greater proportion of disputes at the registration and referral level than those in insurance, meaning there were fewer credit disputes accepted (53%) than were actually received (59%).

The FOS closed 9,904 disputes during the first quarter of 2017, up 2% on the previous quarter and 29% higher year-on-year. This represents the highest number of disputes closed in a quarter in three years.

Around two thirds (60%) of closed disputes were resolved through an agreement between the financial service provider and the consumer, consistent with previous quarter results. About 15% of disputes were resolved outside terms of reference, while around 10% of applicants decided not to pursue their dispute. Only a small proportion (2.18%) of disputes resulted in a preliminary view in favour of the applicant.

If you feel like you've been unfairly charged by a financial service provider, find out how you can properly register a credit dispute. If you're struggling to manage your money or you're having financial problems, learn how you can begin debt consolidation or perhaps consider engaging a financial advisor.

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