More information

How do I know if my complaint is about a financial service?

Financial services are about how you manage your money, credit, insurance, and investments.

Examples of financial services include:

- Financial advice about investments and money management
- Mortgages, saving and cheque accounts, and loans
- Insurance (including life, health, home/contents, and vehicle)
- Retail loans and credit
- Foreign currency exchanges (whether buying or selling)
- Money transfers
- Crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending.

If you’re not sure, give us a call and we will help you.

What can Financial Dispute Resolution Service help with?

Financial Dispute Resolution Service assists in resolving disputes between you and your financial service provider. Some examples of complaints Financial Dispute Resolution Service can help with include:

- Your contract
- Unfair practices
- Failing to exercise care, diligence and skill when providing financial services
- Claiming to be a financial adviser or providing financial services when they are not allowed to do so
- Failing to comply with disclosure or conduct obligations
- An authorised financial advisor implying they are independent when they are not, or failing to put client's interests first
- Any other legal obligation that applies to your relationship with your financial service provider.
 

What can’t Financial Dispute Resolution Service help with?

Financial Dispute Resolution Service may not be able to help in the following situations:

- Complaints about the performance of financial investments
- Complaints about fees or general policies and practices (unless there is a dispute about how these have been applied)
- Disputes that are already in court, or have been heard or settled in court.
- Complaints about financial service providers who are not members of Financial Dispute Resolution Service
- Complaints if the loss exceeds $200,000
- Complaints about transactions that did not occur in New Zealand
- The complaint involves the same, or substantially the same, issues as a complaint that has been previously made to Financial Dispute Resolution Service (or another forum such as a court)
- A reasonable settlement offer has already been offered to the consumer by the scheme member
- The complaint is considered by Financial Dispute Resolution Service to be frivolous or vexatious
- The event being complained about occurred prior to a scheme member’s date of joining the Financial Dispute Resolution Service.

How does Financial Dispute Resolution Service help resolve my complaint?

Financial Dispute Resolution Service works with you and your financial service provider to reach agreement on your complaint. If that is not possible, Financial Dispute Resolution Service will make a decision on the complaint.

The first step is an opportunity for you and your financial service provider to work out the issue together. Two months are allowed for this step.

If that does not work, Financial Dispute Resolution Service will actively work with both you and your financial service provider to settle the matter as quickly as possible. This may include mediation.

If no agreement can be reached, Financial Dispute Resolution Service may make a decision which is binding on the financial service provider.

What if my complaint is about a financial service provider who isn’t a member of Financial Dispute Resolution Service?

We will help you get to the right place so that your complaint can be lodged and you can begin the process of resolving it with your financial service provider.

What happens if two months’ passes from the time I made my complaint and it isn’t resolved, or my financial service provider isn’t engaging with me in the resolution process?

If you and your financial service provider are unable to work out the issue together within two months, your complaint is deemed to be ‘deadlocked’.

This can mean:

- EITHER you have come to the end of your financial service provider's complaint process and your complaint has not been resolved
- OR it has been more than two months since your financial service provider received your complaint and you do not have a resolution

Financial Dispute Resolution Service will be in touch and will help you both to reach an acceptable outcome.

If you have questions about how your complaint is progressing, give us a call on 0508 337 337 and we can help.

Can I make a complaint if my financial service provider is de-registered from the Financial Service Providers Register, or Financial Dispute Resolution Service membership has terminated?

Possibly. You can make a complaint to Financial Dispute Resolution Service about a financial service provider who has been de-registered by the Financial Service Providers Register, or has been terminated by Financial Dispute Resolution Service so long as the issue that you are complaining about occurred after 1 October 2010 and while the financial service provider was a member of Financial Dispute Resolution Service. 

Can someone else complain on a consumer’s behalf?

Anyone can complain on a consumer’s behalf - for example, a member of the family, a friend or a person from a Community Law Centre.

Financial Dispute Resolution Service requires written authority from the consumer before discussing any personal details with a representative, or requesting any information that may be needed from the financial service provider.

Can the costs of making a complaint be claimed?

The service provided by Financial Dispute Resolution Service is free to consumers.

Any other costs associated with your dispute, such as printing or legal advice, are not covered by Financial Dispute Resolution Service.

How long will the Financial Dispute Resolution Service process take?

Financial Dispute Resolution Service encourages early resolution in the interests of all parties that might be involved. While most complaints are resolved within two months, the maximum time it can take for a dispute to be resolved is about seven months. We will keep you up to date throughout the process.

Can a complaint be made about a refusal to provide a loan?

Generally no. Financial Dispute Resolution Service rules do not apply to a scheme member’s judgement in relation to lending or security, unless it deems them unreasonable or irresponsible.

We cannot make a scheme member provide services or advice. However, if you think you have been given the wrong advice about a financial product or service, Financial Dispute Resolution Service may be able to help you.

Is there a time limit for making a complaint?

Yes. There are several time limits to be aware of:

- Any complaint made to Financial Dispute Resolution Service must be about an issue or action that took place while the financial service provider was a member of FDRS
- A consumer must bring a complaint to Financial Dispute Resolution Service within three months of getting either a decision notice or or having received a notice that their complaint is deadlocked
- The complaint must be made to Financial Dispute Resolution Service within two years from when the complaint was first raised with the financial service provider
- A complaint is not covered by Financial Dispute Resolution Service if it involves events that occurred more than 6 years before the complaint was made to the financial service provider.

Does a settlement always mean the payment of money?

No. There are lots of ways that a dispute can be resolved. Sometimes the outcome may include some monetary compensation, but can also include other things, such as an apology or that the financial service provider changes a business practice.

Is the process confidential?

The information provided to Financial Dispute Resolution Service will only be used in your dispute. It may be shared with the other parties in the dispute, but not with anyone else, in accordance with the principles of the Privacy Act 1993.

However, Financial Dispute Resolution Service can make its final recommendation public, and has the authority to direct a scheme member to make a public apology as a remedy to a complaint that is upheld.

Can I provide feedback or make a complaint?

We welcome your enquiries, feedback, compliments or complaints, please contact us. 

Financial Dispute Resolution Service is committed to fair and thorough complaint handling – including complaints about our own organisation.

If you do have complaint about our service, you can either:

- Complete the online form
- Print the complaint form and post it to:
PO Box 841
Christchurch 8140

- Print the complaint form and email it to fairwayinfo@fairwayresolution.com
- Write to or email us directly at the addresses listed above
- Phone us at 0800 77 44 22 or 03 962 9073

Our Complaints Investigator will let you know when we have received your complaint. We will consider your complaint, will consult with the appropriate people and let you know the outcome. This will generally happen within 15 working days. We will let you know if we need more time to carry out an investigation.

In some cases we may wait until your case is concluded before investigating. This is to ensure the independence of the dispute resolution process. We will let you know if this needs to happen.

If you remain unhappy with our response, you can contact the Office of the Ombudsman.

Are there examples of previous decisions? 

Yes, some of our previous decisions are published here and we also have case studies from previous complaints. 

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