How to Stand Up to the Big Banks and Get a Result

We all know how to have a crack at someone when we’re angry, but if that someone is a big bank or insurance company, the abusive approach doesn’t always work. In fact, hopping into the poor guy who picks up your angry call rarely works.

To break through with a complaint about a financial product, you’ve got to take a more formal route. While it lacks the instant gratification of a tidal tirade of abuse to a faceless person down the phone, it will get you results.

So, if you’ve got a battle brewing with a financial service or product provider – think financial advice, super, investments, insurance, credit cards, loans or bank accounts – here’s how to lay down the law.

1. Give it to them straight

The first step is to get in touch with the company and explain the problem with a level head. If they can’t, or won’t, sort it out there and then, it’s time to turn things up a touch.

 

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2. Make it official

If they haven’t solved the issue, ask for their complaints resolution procedure. This should prompt them to explain how complaints are handled and outline who you should email or send a letter to make the complaint official.

When you know who to go to, send a note titled ‘Complaint’ detailing the facts leading to your issue. Include your name, client number, contact details and date, and keep a copy for your own records. This may come in handy later.

If this yields no result, it’s time to really put a rocket up them.

3. Get a third party involved

Almost every financial services business is member to an external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme; the law says they have to be. These EDRs hear complaints free of charge and can usually resolve disputes much quicker than the courts.

Plus, when a business hears an EDR is involved, they tend to try and patch things up pretty quickly.

Most financial businesses fall under the fair hand of the Financial Ombudsman Service, Credit Ombudsman Service Limited and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal.

If you’re unsure who your go-to EDR is, the kind folks at ASIC can point you in the right direction. Grab them through ASIC’s Infoline on 1300 300 630.

So, next time you’re on the end of a financial stitch up, cool your jets and give the formal approach a go. It’s much more likely to get a result.

Image: Kenny Louie, via Flickr