Ombudsman welcomes AFCA’s extended remit for small businesses

| February 21, 2019

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell welcomed the announcement that the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) will consider financial complaints from eligible small businesses dating back to 1 January 2008.

“This is a step in the right direction as AFCA currently only takes complaints going back six years,” Ms Carnell said.

“From 1 July 2019, small businesses with complaints about loans under $5 million, going back to 1 January 2008 and who haven’t had their case heard by the Financial Ombudsman Service or a court, will have one year to apply to AFCA to review their case.

“It is unfortunate that AFCA is bound by the $5 million limit as we know of a range of cases where the small business loan was over this amount and those businesses have nowhere to go – no access to justice.

“We will continue to put pressure on the government to adopt recommendations from Ramsay’s supplementary report on a scheme for these small businesses that includes options such as an independent forum to hear past disputes or government supported legal funding.

“These businesses don’t have the resources to take financial misconduct to court and they deserve justice too.

“We look forward to contributing to the consultation regarding the changes to AFCA’s rules and to better understand the eligibility requirements.”