Complaint FAQs

On 1 September 2018 the CIO scheme was transferred to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) as part of transition arrangements for AFCA commencing on 1 November 2018. From 1 September 2018 AFCA has been managing the CIO scheme.

As part of transition arrangements, any CIO complaint that is received prior to 1 November 2018 will be dealt with under the CIO Rules. From 1 November the AFCA scheme will commence and any disputes received by AFCA will be dealt with under the AFCA Rules.

For more information, visit the AFCA website.

The information outlined below is relevant for all complaints received by CIO prior to 1 November 2018. From 1 November 2018, AFCA will be dealing with all new financial services complaints.

Frequently asked questions by consumers


We can help you with your complaint if you are a consumer or a small business and you have dealt with a participating financial services provider, and you have tried to resolve the complaint with the financial services provider directly.

To search for a participating CIO Member, or to contact the members complaint team, type the name in the Financial Services Provider search.

From 1 November the AFCA scheme will commence and any disputes received by AFCA will be dealt with under the AFCA Rules.

For more information, visit the AFCA website.


Before making a complaint with us you need to try resolving your complaint with the financial services provider.

Every financial services provider must have procedures in place called Internal Dispute Resolution Procedures or ‘IDR Procedures’.

The IDR Procedures require that a financial services provider must:

  • give you a copy of their Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) Procedures if you ask for them
  • give you a final response within 45 days of making your complaint.

To search for a participating CIO scheme participant, or to contact the members complaint team, type the name in the Financial Services Provider Search box.


A CIO decision is only binding on a Complainant if the Complainant accepts it. If the Complainant does not accept a CIO decision, the Complainant is at liberty to pursue other remedies in the Courts or any another forum.

The Ombudsman's decision is binding on the financial services provider once a Complainant has accepted the Ombudsman's decision.


Some lenders can charge default fees, default interest and enforcement costs that are reasonably incurred, if they are set out under the loan contract. However, in certain circumstances, for example if the fee or charge has not been clearly stated in the contract, if it is not a permissible fee or charge or it has been incorrectly applied, we may be able ask the lender not to charge certain fees.


No, our process does not require you to need representation. However, if you choose to, you will be liable for any costs associated.

Visit our Resources section to find free, specialised representation or assistance.


 As a dispute resolution service, we cannot offer advice or make recommendations about a financial services provider's products or services.


It is important that you give your financial service provider an opportunity to resolve your complaint (internal dispute resolution – IDR) before lodging it with CIO.

To search for a participating financial services provider, or to contact the financial services provider's complaint team, type the name in the financial services provider search.

If you already have raised your complaint the financial service provider and have not received a response within 45 days, or you are still dissatisfied with the response you received, you can make a complaint to CIO by:

Our service is free to consumers. This means there is no cost to a consumer in lodging a complaint with the Credit and Investments Ombudsman.

It is not the role of CIO to provide either party, whether a financial service provider or a consumer with advice or legal option.

We are able provide information to consumers about the types of complaints we can handle and how we may be able to assist if the complaint is lodged with us.

It is important to raise your complaint with the financial service provider before lodging a complaint with CIO.


No, CIO cannot obtain a copy of your credit file on your behalf. 

You will need to contact a credit reporting agency such as Equifax/VEDA, Tasmania Collection Service (TCS) or Dun & Bradstreet to obtain a copy of your credit file.

Visit our credit reporting page for more information and links to the websites of these agencies.


No, as a dispute resolution scheme CIO case managers cannot give legal advice to consumer and complainants; we can only provide general information about complaint issues and our approach in resolving a complaint.

We can however refer you to an organisation that can assist you further with legal advice and other helpful assistance.


Any information provided to us is “without prejudice” and cannot be used in later legal proceedings.

Also, any document provided to us and made available to the other party must only be used for the purpose of resolving the complaint. It must be kept confidential and not be disclosed to third parties.


There are some types of complaints that we are unable to consider.

If you are unsure if your complaint is covered, contact us to find out.

On making your complaint to us, if your complaint is not covered we will write to you giving you the reasons why.


Generally you can make a complaint if you believe that the Financial Services Provider has:

  • breached a law
  • breached a relevant Code of Practice
  • not met standards of good practice
  • acted unfairly towards you.

When you make a complaint, you do not need to use any formal or legal language.

However, you must:

  • tell us what resolution you are seeking
  • provide copies of all supporting documents relevant to your complaint
  • give us permission to send a copy of your complaint and supporting documents to the Financial Services Provider.

If you are having trouble presenting your complaint, we can help you prepare it. In doing so, we will not be taking sides but will simply help you present your complaint as clearly and concisely as possible.


If a hearing is held, the CIO Case Managers will direct you as to how the hearing will be conducted and as to whether legal representation is required.

The Credit and Investments Ombudsman may also request relevant information or documentation be provided in order to make a Determination settlement.


During the Investigation Stage, we can:

  • facilitate informal negotiations, impartially assisting all parties to achieve a fair resolution,
  • hold a conciliation conference if we think that it would lead to a more speedier resolution,
  • make a recommendation about how the complaint should be resolved,
  • set out our findings in relation to the complaint in writing, and
  • prepare a Settlement Agreement if an resolution is reached.

For more information about complaint stages, please view the CIO Complaint Process.


The Credit Ombudsman will determine a complaint based on the documents provided.

A Determination will be in writing and include a statement of reasons


Once the Ombudsman makes a Determination, the complainant has one month (30 days) in which to accept the Determination. 

In order to accept the Determination, the complainant will be required to sign an agreement accepting the finding set out in the Determination as full and final settlement of the complaint, releasing the Financial Services Provider from any further claims in respect of the complaint.

If a complainant chooses not to accept the Determination within the required time, we will declare the complaint closed.


Once we receive your complaint, we will let you know that your complaint has been registered and allocated to a Case Manager. This usually takes 3 business days.

Your complaint will be in our Validation Stage until your Case Manager can confirm whether or not your complaint is covered by CIO.

We will let you know if we cannot deal with your complaint or any aspect of your complaint.


A conciliation conference allows the parties an opportunity to share information, discuss issues and attempt to settle the complaint with the help of an independent conciliator (a trained CIO Case Manager).

The conciliation conference may be conducted in person, over the phone or by video conference.


It is important to contact your lender and let them know as soon as possible.

Financial service providers are required to assist clients who may be experiencing financial difficulty or hardship. There are a range of options that may be available to assist you by discussing your situation with your lender.

Financial counsellors can also assist consumers facing financial difficulties.

For more information please follow this link Financial Hardship Information.


If we can consider your complaint, it will be moved to the Referral Stage of the CIO complaint process.

We will send your complaint to the member and request a response, addressing each of the claims you’ve raised in your complaint. The financial services provider (FSP) must respond to us within 21 days of receiving the complaint. Where appropriate, we may allow the FSP further time to provide us with a response.

Once we have received a response, we review it to see if further information is required before sending you a copy for your consideration.