In financial strife? Talk!

ANDREJA PHILLIPS COMMUNITY LAW MARLBOROUGH
Last updated 09:46 19/12/2012

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In this third and final part of the "living with credit" series we look at living with financial service providers.

Have you ended up in a "relationship" with a financial service provider of some kind and had difficulties?

Have you raised a complaint about the dispute with the provider and not got any further?

In this case going to a financial dispute resolution service will be your next step.

All financial service providers have to belong to a free dispute resolution service.

A financial service provider is defined as any business or business person who deals with your money, lends you money or gives you advice about money, for example: banks, insurers, building societies, credit unions, financial advisers and brokers, money or investment managers, lenders and credit card providers, superannuation schemes, foreign exchange providers, finance companies.

It is important that you try to resolve the issue with the financial service provider first.

You should raise the issue, preferably in writing (and keep a copy of this for future reference) and give them the opportunity to address and remedy the issue.

The issue could be a matter regarding the Consumer Guarantees Act, Fair Trading Act, Financial Service Providers Act or Financial Advisers Act for example.

If this is unsuccessful, you can go to one of the financial dispute resolution services. Financial dispute resolution services are available for anyone who is experiencing problems with a provider of financial services (such as credit unions, money lenders and credit card providers).

These services are free and confidential.

Financial dispute providers can choose between four different financial dispute resolution services.

These are: the Insurance & Savings Ombudsman, Banking Ombudsman, Financial Dispute Resolution and Financial Services Complaints Limited.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has published a fact sheet with further information (consumeraffairs.govt.nz ) and contact details.

To find out which dispute resolution service to go to, visit fspr.govt.nz, enter the provider's name and you will see which dispute resolution services the provider has signed up to.

Or, you can come to us and we will find out for you.

The dispute resolution service will investigate the matter.

The methods applied can differ from case to case.

These could be telephone mediations with both parties in a conference call setting for example, or a negotiation between the finance company and the complainant, with the dispute resolver/mediator shuttling between the parties.

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The dispute resolution service providers will no doubt be happy to provide information about the methods used.

If you need any legal information or assistance, or if your organisation would like our legal educator to come to you and present on this topic or any other legal issue, please get in contact with us.

You will find us on level 3 of Porse House at the northern end of Market St in Blenheim.

You can drop in and one of our caseworkers will listen and assist if available, but even better is to phone us on 03 577 9919 or 0800 266 529 to discuss the matter and to make an appointment.

We would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very safe and happy Christmas and New Year's holiday.

Our office will be closed from 1pm on Friday, December 21 and will reopen on Monday, January 7 at 9am.

Andreja Phillips is a case worker at Community Law Marlborough.

- The Marlborough Express

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