FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Check if your question is answered below, or if you are unsure about anything just call us on 0800 888 202 or email info@ifso.nz

It’s easy, fill in the Complaint Form.

For help, phone us on 0800 888 202 or email info@ifso.nz, or watch our 3-minute video Online Complaint Form.

We look at complaints about most financial services and products including:

  • Insurance
  • Loans and credit
  • Financial planning
  • Financial advice and investments
  • Insurance broking
  • Mortgage and finance broking
  • Stock broking
  • Superannuation funds
  • Managed funds
  • Funds transfers
  • Cyber currency
  • Foreign exchange
  • Card services

Typical complaints are:

  • Misleading information or inappropriate advice
  • Fees and charges or terms of the contract
  • Debt recovery and repossession action
  • Decline of an insurance claim
  • Suitability of product for the consumer’s needs
  • Transaction disputes
  • Standard of care and customer service issues

We can investigate claims for amounts up to $200,000.

If you’re not sure of your issue or complaint, simply call us on 0800 888 202 and we can help.

Read Type of Complaints within the Scheme’s jurisdiction section of our Terms of Reference Page 6 points 5, 6 and 7 on what the IFSO Scheme can and cannot consider.

No, if you think that something is wrong, simply call us, our experienced team will be able to assist you.

You can check if your Financial Service Provider is part of the IFSO Scheme on our Find a Participant page or call us on 0800 888 202 if you have trouble finding your Provider.

We can only accept complaints against Participants of the IFSO Scheme. If you fill in a Complaint Form and we find your Financial Service Provider is not a Participant of the IFSO Scheme, we will refer your complaint to the appropriate Dispute Resolution Scheme.

If it doesn’t feel right, phone us on 0800 888 202 we can help you decide.

It is a requirement we allow your Financial Service Provider (FSP) to consider your complaint first through their internal complaints procedure.

This procedure ought to be outlined on their website. If you and your FSP cannot resolve the complaint within two months, then they must notify you that you have reached ‘Deadlock’ with your Financial Service Provider. They will then provide you of our contact details and your right to use our free service.

After deadlock, your Financial Service Provider must inform you of your right to refer your complaint to the IFSO Scheme, and that your complaint must be referred within three months of their notice of deadlock.

If you are making no progress with your Financial Service Provider during this two-month period contact us and we can help you through this process.

In some complaint cases, the IFSO Scheme may determine that the Financial Service Provider is unable to resolve the complaint using its own complaint procedure and the IFSO Scheme may declare deadlock has been reached.

For more information go to Timeframe for Referring a Complaint to the Scheme, Page 8 Point 8 of our Terms of Reference.

Once you’ve reached deadlock with your Financial Service Provider, you have laid a complaint with the IFSO Scheme and we have told you that we have accepted it, our review of your complaint begins.

Please refer to our complaints flow diagram and the complaint investigation and the dispute resolution process with information about what to expect during our investigation.

Yes, a complaint must be referred to the IFSO Scheme within 3 months (or a longer period agreed to by the Financial Service Provider) of the date the Financial Service Provider advised you, the Complainant, in writing that deadlock has been reached and providing you contact details of the IFSO Scheme.

There are further time limits to be aware of, go to Referring a Complaint to the Scheme, Point 8 page 8 of our Terms of Reference.

Anyone can complain on a client or consumer’s behalf. For example, a member of the family, a friend or a person from a Community Law Centre or FinCap can be your representative in a complaint.

To protect your privacy, and make sure your representative has your authority to act on your behalf, the IFSO Scheme will ask you for written authority before discussing any personal details with your representative, or requesting any information that may be needed from the Financial Service Provider.

Simply follow our complaints process, and just indicate on our Complaint Form that your role is a representative and we will call you with next steps.

The IFSO Scheme encourages early resolution, if in the interests of the parties involved.

We aim to resolve complaints within 75 working days. Some cases are complex and will take longer, and others are more straight forward and will be resolved more quickly.

While most complaints are resolved within two months, the maximum time it can take for a dispute to be resolved is up to seven months. We will keep you informed of our progress on your complaint.

No, the IFSO Scheme provides a free service to consumers.

No, there are lots of ways that a dispute can be resolved. Sometimes the outcome might include monetary compensation, but can also include other things, such as an apology to you, or we required the Financial Service Provider changes a business practice.

Read Remedies, Page 12 point 14 in our Terms of Reference.

We can arrange an interpreter by telephone, we use the NZ Relay Service. We have information available on our complaint process on our website in 7 languages.

Alternatively, you can ask someone else to call us on your behalf, we will do our best to make sure you are able to access our translation services.

We do not share this information with any third parties, except with your consent.

Yes, our process and decisions are confidential. To allow us to obtain your private information about the complaint, we will ask you to sign a Waiver of Confidentiality Form. We will need to discuss details and ask information from your Financial Services Provider that will assist in our complaint investigations.

Read the IFSO Scheme Privacy Policy and for full details regarding confidentiality please go to Page 9 point 9 in our Terms of Reference.

The IFSO Scheme produces case studies to communicate and inform people about the cases we have investigated. We do not release any personal information that could identify you.

Read the IFSO Scheme Privacy Policy and for full details regarding confidentiality please go to Page 9 point 9 in our Terms of Reference.

The IFSO Scheme may decide the method and process used to resolve the Complaint. This may include negotiation, conciliation, mediation and making a decision about the complaint.

When a complaint is under consideration by the IFSO Scheme, it may be resolved by agreement between you, the Complainant, and the Financial Service Provider at any time. The agreement will be binding on both you, the Complainant, and the Financial Service Provider.

We are impartial and do not take sides. For the full details of our Investigation Processes read point 10 of our Terms of Reference.

For the full details of our Decision Making Criteria go to Page 13, Point 13 of our Terms of Reference.

When the IFSO Scheme upholds a complaint (that is, makes a decision in favour of you, the complainant), there are a number of ways the IFSO Scheme can decide the Financial Service Provider must undertake action. These include the writing off a debt or make a payment to the complainant.

For all details go to Page 12, Point 14, Remedies in our Terms of Reference

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No decision of the IFSO Scheme is capable of review or appeal in any form, to any other person, court, tribunal, statutory complaints authority, or other body, except as contemplated by the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008.

Yes, in certain circumstances. To find the full details, go to Page 13, Point 15 Right of Parties to institute Court or Debt Recovery Proceedings, Terms of Reference

Where any party to a complaint requests the IFSO Scheme to provide access to any information about the complaint, the IFSO Scheme may respond to that request as it considers appropriate, subject to the Privacy Act 2020, the IFSO Scheme Privacy Policy, and any applicable legal obligations.

Yes, the Financial Service Provider has to follow our decision.

If you, as Complainant, remain unsatisfied with the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman decision, you do not have to accept our decision. You can take other action, such as legal action.

If you, as the Complainant, do accept our decision, we will ask you to sign a “full and final” Settlement Form before your Financial Services Provider pays you any compensation.

We welcome feedback, compliments or complaints.

If you are, or are not satisfied, with an aspect of our service or our process, you are able to make a service compliment or complaint about the IFSO Scheme by emailing info@ifso.nz. Just tell us what the issue is and what you want to happen. If you need any help, please call us on 0800 888 202.

Service complaints or compliments are about the service we provided. They are not a review of a complaint decision or outcome.