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About our work
Our job is to help people sort out problems with their bank. It could be about the service you’re getting (or not getting). It could be about a loan, a credit, debit or travel card, cheques, an online scam, savings and investments, mobile banking or transferring money from overseas. Whatever it is, call our free helpline 0800 805 950. If you don’t speak English, tell us your language and we’ll put you on hold and get a translator.
Talk to your bank first
We suggest you try to fix the problem with your bank directly before coming to us. We can help you get in touch with the right people at your bank to look into your problem. We can also send your complaint to the bank on your behalf if you prefer. If that doesn’t work, we will investigate your complaint. If we can’t investigate your complaint, we can often still give you useful information and another organisation to go to.
What we do
We are an independent dispute resolution scheme. We look at complaints about banking, although this can also include insurance and superannuation-related complaints. All of New Zealand’s main banks belong to our scheme. The advice we give is fair and impartial. We don’t take sides or act as an advocate for customers or banks. Our service is not only professional and unbiased, but it’s also free. And you don’t need a lawyer at any time while we look into your complaint.
How we work
We listen to your story, we listen to your bank’s story, we gather any facts or documents we need, and then we suggest a solution we think you and your bank will agree to. If you don’t both agree, we’ll make a formal decision about your case. You’re free to accept or reject the decision. If you accept it, the bank must also accept it. If you reject it, we will not be able to help you any more, although you can still take your complaint to the courts. See the complaints process on our website for details (this page is in English).
Who we can help
We can look into complaints from anyone whose bank (or one of its subsidiaries or related companies) belongs to our scheme. Several credit unions and building societies also belong to our scheme. Check the participants page of our website to see if your bank is a member of our scheme. If your financial service provider is not in our scheme, check the Financial Service Providers Register to find out which scheme it belongs to. We can help individuals, groups, businesses, clubs and trusts.
Making a complaint
You can complete the online complaint form, send us an email or letter or give us a call. If you send an email or letter, tell us what you think your bank has done wrong, how this has affected you financially (or in any other way), and what you want your bank to do about it. Our website has case notes showing how we have dealt with similar cases to your complaint.
We have the power to award compensation of up to $350,000 for direct losses. We can also award up to $9,000 for inconvenience to recognise stress, embarrassment or disruption to financial planning. The agreements we help banks and customers to reach can often include an apology, waiving bank fees, reducing a customer’s debt or getting a better interest rate. It’s often faster to reach an agreement, rather than holding out for a decision – and customers are often happier with the outcome.
What we don’t do
Unfortunately, we can’t look into every type of banking complaint. We can’t, for example, consider a complaint about the interest rate a bank charges or the size of a fee. (That’s called a matter of “commercial judgement”). But we can look at a complaint about how a bank is applying a fee or interest. We may not be able to look into things that happened a long time ago, cases that involve direct losses of more than $350,000, or where you have already resolved the problem with your bank.