22 Jun 2016

Financial dispute service trying to boost profile

12:42 pm on 22 June 2016

A dispute resolution firm for the financial services sector says it has work to do to make sure people know it exists.

Financial Services Complaints provides help to non-bank lenders, finance companies, insurance firms and their clients.

The scheme is paid for by industry members and it is free to consumers.

Its chief executive, Susan Taylor, said it gets about 2000 complaints and queries a year, but only around 200 are formally investigated.

"A lot of the complaints are getting resolved directly between our scheme member and their client ... it is only those complaints that reach a deadlock and can't be resolved directly that then come to us."

Ms Taylor said financial settlement can be an option and high penalties can be imposed against companies.

"We will tell a consumer if we think the complaint lacks merit, but if we find in favour of the consumer, we have powers to award compensation up to $200,000 for a direct financial loss."

She said a way to make the complaints scheme known is for financial service providers to tell customers.

"I think there's a lot more work to be done there and it is something that we would like to see as a legal requirement."

Ms Taylor said the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment was conducting a review and she understood the ministry was looking at greater disclosure.

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