better banking

Complaints we can and cannot consider

Complaints we can consider

You can complain to the Banking Ombudsman Scheme if:

  • your complaint is about a specific banking or other financial service that has been provided to you
  • you are complaining that the scheme participant’s actions have directly caused you to suffer financial loss or damage and/or inconvenience
  • the amount of financial loss you claim is less than $200,000
  • the complaint is about something that happened while a bank was one of our scheme participants.

If you think your complaint is one that the Banking Ombudsman can consider, then you can telephone, write to or email us, or lodge a complaint by filling in the online complaint form. If you are not sure, then contact us for advice.

See our complaints process guides.


Complaints we cannot consider

The Banking Ombudsman cannot deal with complaints:

  • about a financial service provider while it was not one of our scheme participants
  • about a participant’s commercial judgement, eg whether it should lend you money
  • about a participant's interest rate policies or the amount of its standard fees and charges
  • if your claim for direct losses is for more than $200,000
  • where the issues first arose more than six years ago
  • that would be better dealt with by a different authority.

The Banking Ombudsman cannot award punitive or exemplary damages, or give legal advice or rule on points of law.

See sections 3 to 8 of our Terms of Reference for further information on the limits on the Banking Ombudsman’s powers.


What if the Banking Ombudsman Scheme cannot consider your complaint?

Some of the restrictions on the Banking Ombudsman's powers can be waived by the scheme participant against which the complaint is made. Please contact us for details.

If you have a complaint about a financial service provider that does not participate in our scheme, please refer to the Companies Office Financial Service Providers Register to find out which scheme your financial service provider belongs to.

Some complaints may be better addressed by other organisations such as the Commerce Commission, Financial Markets Authority, Privacy Commission and Human Rights Commission. For a full list of disputes resolution and investigation agencies, please refer to Complaint Line.

Alternatively, view our useful links.