Frequently asked questions
You may have many questions concerning your complaint and the process undertaken to have it resolved. As many people have similar questions, it is advisable to check the FAQs below. If you find a similar question, click on the link to view the answer.
I have a complaint with the Tribunal but have not had an update for some time. What is happening with my complaint?
We realise that for some of our complainants, it has been some time since we contacted you about your complaint. Please read through our update at About my complaint for more information.
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is the new external dispute resolution scheme for financial services complaints. AFCA started accepting complaints on 1 November 2018. You can learn more about AFCA at www.afca.org.au.
(The Tribunal will continue to deal with complaints about superannuation that were received on or before 31 October 2018.)
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) replaces the three existing schemes (the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Credit and Investments Ombudsman) so that consumers have access to a single external dispute resolution scheme. AFCA is designed to provide free, fast and binding dispute resolution to consumers and small businesses.
You can read more about AFCA at www.afca.org.au, or call AFCA on 1800 931 678.
You cannot transfer your complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), and complaints withdrawn from the Tribunal will not be able to be relodged with AFCA. The Tribunal will remain open to resolve its existing complaints.
The trustee has an obligation to operate the fund in accordance with the law and the fund’s own trust deed and rules. It must exercise reasonable care and diligence and ensure that the fund is operated in the best interests of the members.
Trustees of superannuation funds and RSA providers have obligations under the law to provide members with certain information. For more details you should contact your fund or RSA provider. Life companies also have certain obligations to provide information in relation to annuity policies. For more details you should contact your life company.
The Superannuation Complaints Tribunal is an independent statutory dispute resolution body that deals with superannuation-related complaints received on or before 31 October 2018. It operates under the Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993 (the Complaints Act). Review meetings are conducted by the Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson and/or two or more of the part-time members who are all appointed to the Tribunal by the Commonwealth. The Tribunal is impartial - we make decisions on the individual facts and merits of each complaint. We do not act for or represent any side to a complaint.
Complaints made on or after 1 November 2018 must be made to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
The Tribunal does not give legal advice. It offers a free, user-friendly alternative to the court system. The Tribunal is impartial - we make decisions on the facts and merits of each complaint. We do not act for or represent any side to a complaint.
Superannuation Complaints Tribunal
Locked Bag 3060, MELBOURNE VIC 3001
Level 7, 120 Collins Street Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 1300 884 114
Fax: +61 3 8635 5588
No. However, if you wish to be represented, you must apply to the Tribunal. For more information, please see our fact sheet, Do I need to be represented?
With one exception, the Tribunal generally cannot give any party advice as to how strong or weak a complaint is. The exception is that if the Tribunal decides that a complaint is misconceived, lacking in substance, trivial or vexatious, we will withdraw the complaint, and will give reasons for our decision.
If you believe someone may have lodged a complaint which affects you, you can send the Tribunal a letter, fax or email, identifying the person you believe may have made the complaint, the name of the member, the name of the Fund, and explaining why you need the information. The Tribunal will then decide whether it is able to provide the information.
This usually happens where someone has made a complaint about how a death benefit should be paid. If you think you are a person the benefit could be paid to, you may apply to become a party to complaint. For further information, please see our fact sheet How do I join a complaint?.
If your complaint cannot be resolved before review, you can expect that a complaint received at the Tribunal today will take at least 12 months to get to review, at which time the Tribunal will make a formal decision in relation to the complaint. The Tribunal is working to reduce this period. See Complaint process for more detailed information.
Shortly before a complaint proceeds to a review meeting, the parties to a complaint are provided with all the material on the Tribunal’s file and invited to make a submission to the Tribunal, based on this material. It is possible for information to be exchanged before this time if one party requests it and the others agree. It may also be possible to obtain all or some of the material under Freedom of Information laws if you are a party to the complaint. You need to write to the Tribunal requesting copies of the material.
Yes. If you have any suggestions for how a complaint can be resolved or dealt with more quickly, speak to the complaints analyst dealing with your complaint.
I am a party to a complaint about a death benefit. Why do I have to give information to the Tribunal about my financial circumstances?
The financial circumstances of the potential beneficiaries may be considered by the Tribunal when deciding how to distribute a death benefit. The Tribunal may need to establish whether you were financially dependent on the deceased member at the time of his or her death.
Under the Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993, the Tribunal is required to try and resolve a complaint by conciliation. The Tribunal exercises its discretion in arranging a conciliation conference. If you have any concerns about whether conciliation is appropriate you should raise these with the complaints analyst dealing with the complaint.
Conciliation provides an opportunity for the parties to reach a settlement with which they all agree rather than have a decision imposed on them by the Tribunal.
The conciliator's role is to conduct the conciliation conference and to assist the parties to reach a settlement. The conciliator does not impose a decision on the parties. See Conciliation for more information.
The Tribunal does not pay the benefit. Once the 28 day appeal period has expired, we suggest that you contact the fund to arrange payment.
The Tribunal will consider the question of interest at the review meeting and will make orders for the payment of interest where appropriate in the determination.
Tribunal determinations can be appealed on a question of law to the Federal Court. See Complaint process for more detailed information.