For many victims of financial disputes, it can be a daunting process to navigate recovering your funds. You may have tried to resolve the issue with the financial provider and have had no response or success.
Where do you go next?
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government dispute resolution organisation providing free, fair and independent help with disputes between consumers and financial providers. It is compulsory for all Australian Financial Services Licence and Australian Credit Licence providers to be members of AFCA. To have a complaint considered by AFCA it has to be within six years after you first became aware of the loss. With an exception of the current one-year window to consider complaints dating back to 1 January 2008. AFCA is only allowed to accept legacy complaints until 30 June 2020.
ASIC has largely won a landmark case against Melbourne businessman Bill Lewski, former federal health minister Michael Wooldridge and other directors of failed property group Prime Trust, with the High Court ruling the men had breached their duties as directors. The High Court found it “cannot ignore the injustice caused to members by an amendment that permits $33 million of their equity to be paid away without authority”. The Federal Court is to reassess the penalties and disqualification periods for the directors.
In 2017, Australian’s lost A$31.3 million to investment fraud schemes, per the May 2018 report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). This figure is almost certainly an under-representation on the total amount lost, as investment fraud is one of Australia’s least reported crimes, mostly due to shame or embarrassment of the victims. But don’t be embarrassed, investment frauds are becoming more sophisticated and harder to recognise, and with over 200,000 reports of scams last year, you are certainly not alone.
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