LegalVision’s team of lawyers often advises consumers in relation to disputes with merchants and lenders. Our lawyers help customers resolve their disputes with banks, financial institutions and dealerships as quickly and efficiently as possible. Consumer protection is one of our key areas of practice.

Common disputes which arise relate to banks, vehicle dealerships, associated lenders and salary packaging businesses.

We also often see clients who have been misled in relation to mortgage products, personal loans and credit cards.

This article sets out some of the common issues we deal with, and some of the common legal techniques that can be used to resolve the dispute on a customer’s behalf.

Common Disputes

It’s an unfortunate fact that banking, leasing and lending disputes are quite common.

The team at LegalVision deals with nearly all consumer disputes including the following:

  • Motor vehicle finance and contractual arrangements;
  • Disputed fees and default listings;
  • Enforcement proceedings by banks in relation to home loans and possible bankruptcy concerns;
  • All types of lending including home loans, personal loans and credit cards;
  • Mortgage shortfalls & bank guarantees;
  • Mistaken payment in relation to  Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) transactions;
  • Issues with meeting your payments because of unemployment or illness.

Common Legal Techniques

It’s obviously difficult to give generic information on the best approach to deal with a consumer dispute; however some of the steps that should be take follow.

Legal Review

The first step is to have one of our lawyers review all relevant documentation, discuss the dispute with you, and develop a strategy to assist you in achieving the best outcome.

We need to review the individual circumstances of your case so to advise  you on the best strategy.

Legal Action Based on Misrepresentation or Misconduct

At common law and through legislation (such as the Australian Consumer Code) a contract entered into based on misrepresentation or deceptive conduct by the seller can potentially be cancelled and compensation awarded to you the consumer.

In the financial (such as banks and other lending institutions) and motor vehicle sales sectors there’s often scope to assist Consumers  who have purchased lending products, goods or services based on misrepresentations, poor sales techniques, and breaches of regulations such as cool off periods. The approach we adopt your behalf will depend on your individual circumstances.

Complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service

In the financial disputes arena, a dispute to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) can often yield dividends.

An experienced lawyer can assist you with the complaints process and devise a strategy for dealing with your matter.

In formulating a strategy to suit your needs we will look at issues such as:

  • Maladministration in lending (where a lender has provided you funds in inappropriate circumstances.
  • Whether your lender has misrepresented your obligations in relation to a loan.
  • Whether your lender is imposing harsh and unfair penalty interest in relation to your loan.
  • Whether you were offered the requisite financial hardship conditions by the bank given your circumstances.
  • Whether you were offered the opportunity to obtain legal advice before entering into your lending arrangement.
  • Whether your lender has breached its obligations under the Code of Banking Practice and/or the responsible lending legislation.

Complaint to Consumer Affairs or Other Regulatory Bodies

Finally, a complaint to consumer affairs or other regulatory bodies is another strategy that can work well.

Poor quality merchants will often agree to resolve a dispute rather than face the commercial implications of defending a matter through the Regulatory process.

Conclusion

If you’ve got issues with your banking, leasing or lending areas or motor vehicle purchase and terms, forming a strategy with an experienced lawyer is key to getting the equitable outcome that you deserve.

Lachlan McKnight

Next Steps

If you would like further information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please get in touch using the form on this page.