Review of Australia’s consumer external dispute resolution arrangements likely in 2013

Australia’s shadow minister for financial services, Mathias Cormann, has acknowledged that there are legitimate concerns over procedural matters and natural justice in relation to Australia’s Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and the Credit Ombudsman Service (COS).

The term ‘ombudman’ derives from Swedish and means an independent official who addresses complaints by investigation and attempts to resolve matters without litigation, usually between customers and organisations. Traditionally deployed to handle complaints and grievances by the general public, the use of ombudsmen has increased in scope and sophistication in recent years.

The FOS and COS have been in place since 1 July 2008, and are due for review in July 2013. “If we are elected to government at the next election, then we will certainly be conducting a review consistent with the Productivity Commission recommendation to assess how the current process is operating” Cormann said. Continue reading