Today marks the beginning of the revised Code of Banking Practice. The Code specifies how banks should treat their customers and represents a contract between the two parties, giving banking customers legal rights if it is breached. Consumers can also make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service about any breach of the Code.
Following an independent review published in December 2008, the Australian Bankers’ Association has now finalised its Code expanding some consumer protections:
- dealing with customer hardship—bank staff will be required to be more proactive in identifying customers experiencing financial trouble and offer assistance;
- customer chargeback rights—chargeback rights which were only available on credit cards have been extended to scheme debit cards (where available), and
- debt collection—banks can only sell debts to third parties that comply with the ‘Debt Collection Guideline: for Collectors and Creditors.
We’re pleased that the new Code obliges banks to offer greater support to customers in remote communities who face unique banking challenges.
Consumer Action encourages the Australian Bankers’ Association to monitor the effectiveness of the Code on an ongoing basis, and be proactive in promoting customers’ rights.