Free financial advice

THE Australian Financial Complaints Authority will show locals how to resolve disputes with their financial institution when it stops off in Traralgon next week.

ACFA is a one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses with complaints about financial firms, including banks, credit and insurance organisations, investments and superannuation.

It will offer face-to-face financial complaint guidance which will also allow ACFA to better understand some of the financial issues faced by people in the Latrobe Valley.

AFCA has received more than 190 financial complaints from the Latrobe Valley and awarded more than $1.39 million in compensation in the first 10 months since it started in November 2018.

Less than half of those with a concern about their financial firm actually lodge a complaint, the ACFA roadshow will show locals how to resolve a dispute.

Latrobe City Council mayor Graeme Middlemiss said the ACFA roadshow will give locals a unique opportunity to receive expert advice over unresolved issues with their financial institution.

"I encourage all Latrobe City residents to take the opportunity to visit AFCA and learn more about how it can help to resolve financial complaints," Cr Middlemiss said.

"Especially for those who have lodged a complaint with a financial institution and feel that they've been unfairly treated".

Chief Ombudsman and ACFA chief executive David Locke said hearing from regional communities would also help AFCA improve its own processes and services.

"When people run into an issue with their financial provider, many don't know they can actually make a formal complaint and get it fixed," Mr Locke said.

"If it's something you've felt strongly enough to complain about to your friends and family, chances are you have a case to pursue."

Mr Locke said the insights from Latrobe Valley locals would help ACFA reach fair outcomes and drive change across the industry.

"It's important that Australians feel confident in bringing their financial complaints forward, and we will be there to support each and every Aussie that we encounter on the road," Mr Locke said.

Mr Locke said there was a one-year window of opportunity to lodge complaints dating back to 2008 under special legacy complaint rules set by the Australian government.

AFCA can accept legacy complaints until June 30, 2020.

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority roadshow will appear at Stockland Traralgon on Monday, October 14 between 9am and 5.30pm.

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