How to resolve your dispute

JVIB take pride in all that they do but most of all, in looking after you. If you are unable to resolve a dispute with JVIB, we will provide you with a form to forward to The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

FOS is an organisation that offers a free and accessible dispute resolution service to the customers of financial services providers across Australia. They offer the option of resolving your disputes quickly and efficiently, without the costs and time involved in going to court.

Their service is free to consumers.

There are five steps involved in resolving a dispute.  Some disputes take longer to resolve than others.

  1. Contact your Financial Services Provider (FSP).
  2. Lodge a dispute with FOS.
  3. FOS begin their review of the dispute.
  4. How your dispute will be handled.
  5. How your dispute will be resolved.

Step 1: Contact your Financial Services Provider (FSP)

As a first step, you should contact your financial services provider’s consumer complaints area to discuss your issue, tell them what your concerns are and how you would like them to be resolved.  You can do this over the phone, through email, or by sending a letter.  This is often the quickest way to resolve a dispute.

Step 2: Lodge a dispute with FOS

If contacting the FSP has not resolved the dispute, you can lodge a dispute with FOS.

After the dispute is lodged with FOS, they will contact your FSP and ask it to respond to you and them.  The amount of time the FSP provider has to respond depends on how long ago you contacted your FSP about the problem directly.

If you only recently contacted your FSP about the problem, it will have up to 45 days to respond.  If you have already received a written response from your FSP outlining its position, it will have 21 days to respond after the dispute is lodged with FOS.

Step 3: FOS begin their review of the dispute

If your dispute remains unresolved after the FSP has had the opportunity to resolve the dispute with you directly, FOS will then begin reviewing the dispute.  The first thing FOS will consider is whether the dispute falls within their jurisdiction.

There are some things that FOS cannot deal with as they fall outside their jurisdiction.  To find out more information about what FOS can and cannot deal with, please visit the Terms of Reference on the FOS website at www.fos.org.au.

Step 4: How your dispute will be handled

FOS work with you and the FSP to try and resolve your dispute.  FOS act independently by not taking sides.  They aim to get a fair outcome for both parties to a dispute.  FOS communicate with both parties by phone, email and letters.

Step 5: How your dispute will be resolved

The FOS dispute resolution methods may involve negotiation, conciliation, or reaching a decision.  It is important that all information relating to your dispute is provided to assist in a timely resolution.

What if the dispute is not resolved?

If your dispute is not resolved after the FSP response, the FOS will review your dispute. This means that they will consider the circumstances of your dispute and use the most appropriate dispute resolution method to help resolve your problem. These methods include:

  • Negotiation – means the FOS talk to you and your FSP to see if they can negotiate an agreement that both of you will be happy with.
  • Conciliation – is where the FOS use one of their trained conciliators to talk to you and your FSP (usually by telephone) about the dispute, listening to the perspectives of both parties and helping you both understand each other’s perspective. Then the conciliator will help you both to come up with possible ways to resolve the dispute that you and your FSP agree to. You can find out more at http://www.fos.org.au/conciliation
  • Assessment – is where the FOS form an initial view on the merits of the dispute. If they think providing an initial view will help resolve the dispute, they will let both parties know. If it’s not appropriate to make that assessment, the FOS may progress the dispute to decision-making.
  • Decision-making – is where the FOS investigate the dispute in further detail and make a “Recommendation” or “Determination”. During this process they will be in contact with you so you know what’s happening and what, if any, further information you’ll need to give them.

For disputes involving financial hardship the FOS follow a streamlined process and the method they use to help resolve the dispute is usually a conciliation conference conducted by telephone.

Recommendations and Determinations

What is a Recommendation?
If your dispute cannot be resolved by negotiation or conciliation, then the FOS look at making a Recommendation. A Recommendation is when they consider all the facts and information of the dispute and the FOS make a decision based on the merits of the dispute and how they think it should be resolved.

A Recommendation is not binding. You or your FSP may reject a Recommendation. However, once a Recommendation is accepted by both parties it then becomes binding and the FOS will close their file.

  • What if the Recommendation is rejected?

If you or your FSP reject the Recommendation, then you or the FSP will need to tell the FOS why. For instance, you or the FSP may have new information that you think might change the decision. Once you or your FSP reject the Recommendation, then it is referred to an Ombudsman or a Panel (comprising an industry and consumer representative and an Ombudsman) for a Determination.

  • What is a Determination?

A Determination is a more formal decision about the merits of the dispute. A Determination is binding on the FSP if you accept it. This means that your FSP is obliged to comply with the decision. If your dispute has been upheld, this might mean the FSP has to compensate you appropriately or remedy the problem in some way.

  • What if the Determination is rejected?

If you reject the Determination the FOS cannot consider your dispute further so they will close their file.

You are free to pursue your dispute in another forum; however, the FOS cannot assist you with this.

Other Information

Privacy

The FOS treat all disputes as confidential between you, the FSP and their office.

Find out more about how they protect your privacy at http://www.fos.org.au/privacy.

Legal advice

There is no need to obtain legal advice about your dispute but you may do so if you want to.

If you do want legal advice, you will need to arrange that yourself and know that you will usually have to pay your own legal costs.

The FOS are unable to provide you with legal advice.

Assistance

If you need any assistance with filling out forms, if you need a translator because English is not your first language, or if you have any other special needs, please call the FOS on 1800 367 287.

Contact Information
We recommend you visit the FOS website http://www.fos.org.au for comprehensive information about their services and help to answer questions you may have. If necessary, you can also lodge your dispute online.

Phone:1800 367 287
Postal Address: GPO Box 3, Melbourne VIC 3001
Email: info@fos.org.au
Web: www.fos.org.au