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consumers
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Using credit 

Changes to consumer credit laws from 1 July 2013

On 1 July 2010 the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) became the national regulator for consumer credit. This means that home loans, personal loans, credit cards, consumer leases, overdrafts and line of credit accounts, among other products and services, are regulated under Commonwealth legislation and administered by ASIC. New Commonwealth laws also require all credit providers and finance brokers to be licensed. 

On 1 July 2013 NSW repealed its maximum percentage rate law.

This means that from 1 July 2013, the maximum cost rate for consumer credit contracts across Australia – including NSW - is set under the National Credit Code. For more information about the new regulatory framework and the maximum cost rates please visit the ASIC website.

Disputes and complaints

Consumer disputes about credit products and services should be directed to the credit provider’s independent dispute resolution scheme. 

If your credit provider belongs to the Credit Ombudsman Scheme Limited (COSL) call 1800 138 422 or visit www.cosl.com.au

If your credit provider belongs to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or you are unsure to which dispute resolution scheme they belong, call 1300 780 808 or visit www.fos.org.au

Complaints about a finance broker’s illegal or unfair conduct for contracts entered into after 1 January 2011 should be directed to ASIC online or by calling ASIC’s Infoline on 1300 300 630.

Complaints about a finance broker for contracts entered into before 1 January 2011 should be referred to NSW Fair Trading.

Information on a range of topics can be found on the following pages:

Leasing or renting goods

Credit card chargebacks

What is a chargeback?

A chargeback is a reversal of a charge on your credit card, or debit card (when you select 'credit').

It takes place between your bank and the trader’s (the business who has charged your card) bank, and occurs when the  trader’s bank agrees to return funds back to your bank in the event of chargeback request.

Common circumstances when chargeback applies 

There is no gurantee you will be entitled to a chargeback in every instance. However, the most common examples for when chargebacks apply include:

  • goods or services delivered are not as described
  • non-supply or non-receiot within the agreed time frame
  • duplicated or fraudulent transactions
  • charges are made without your permission
  • insolvency - the trader you puchased goods or services from stops operation and you did not get what you paid for
  • unrecognised transactions.

The chargeback process is separate from other dispute resolution services, such as those available through eBay or PayPal. However, you may also have a right to a chargeback for PayPal purchases if your credit card is linked to your PayPal account, and PayPal’s dispute resolution process was unsuccessful.

When chargeback is not an option

There are some circumstances when a chargeback may not be available. For example, if you:

  • selected 'cheque' or 'savings' as the account type on a debit or EFTPOS card
  • paid with cash, money transfer, cheque, direct debit or BPAY
  • are eligible to lodge an insurance claim
  • have already been compensated.

Time limits

There are time limits for card issuers to submit chargeback claims. Time limits vary and can be anywhere between 45 and 120 days from:

  • the transaction processing date - where the goods or services were immediately available; or
  • the last date that the cardholder expected to receive the goods or services - where the goods or services were to be provided after the transaction processing date.

Consumers' right to complain

Cardholders who are not satisfied with their card issuer’s decisions as to whether or not to request a chargeback, have the right to raise a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). FOS provides free and independent dispute resolution assistance to individuals and small business owners who are unable to resolve complaints with financial service providers.