Which financial services do Australians complain about the most?

Peter Terlato 6 September 2016

Complaint phone yelling

There were more than 34,000 disputes in 2015-16.

New stats released this week reveal more than three quarters (78%) of all disputes in Australia last financial year were concerning credit and general insurance.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) Australia reports credit disputes accounted for 47% of all accepted disputes in 2015-16, while general insurance complaints totalled 31%. These figures were slightly higher than the previous year's results.

Accepted disputes are those that have entered the case management stage of the dispute resolution process.

While the 34,095 complaints received in 2015-16 was a marginally higher number (+7%) than the previous year's total, the numbers shouldn't be compared as the FOS introduced a new disputes process in July 2015, adding registration and referral steps to improve resolution efficiency.

General insurance disputes rose by 1,721 in 2015-16, accounting for almost 90% of the overall increase in disputes received.

In 2015-16 the FOS team handled 214,439 phone calls, had 600,046 website visits and closed 32,871 disputes - more than one-third (37%) during the new registration and referral stage.

Almost half of all disputes (43%) were resolved/closed within 30 days, more than three-quarters (77%) within 60 days and 85% within 90 days.

Systematic issues and serious misconduct are dealt with on a case-by-case basis by a special team. In 2015-16 this department refunded more than $12.75 million and amended or removed more than 4,500 credit listings. There were also 5 cases of serious misconduct reported to ASIC, down from 14 last year.

There were also improvements made to online banking processes and platforms, reforms pertaining to the disclosure of interest payable on various savings accounts and reviews of insurance claim denials and client investment portfolios.

In Australia, complaints aren't just limited to financial services. Last month we reported a hike in the number of Aussies unhappy with their health insurance.

Whether you're looking for credit cards with the lowest interest, balance transfers, rewards programs, 0% purchase rates, no annual fees or frequent flyer discounts, be sure to compare a range of offers to find the one that suits you best.

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