A step too far in consumer credit protection: Are external dispute resolution schemes wielding the Sword of Damocles?
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Under existing consumer credit legislation, all credit providers are required to be licensed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Membership of an external dispute resolution scheme – either the Credit Ombudsman Service Limited (COSL) or the Financial Ombudsman Service– is compulsory for license holders. As members, credit providers are subject to the Rules and Constitutions of the respective schemes, a requirement which has far-reaching effects on commercial dealings. This article explores the scope of COSL’s powers, finding these to be excessively wide, and inherently unfair towards credit providers. The principal contention of the article is that, instead of providing a dispute resolution service, COSL imposes a “tyranny” on credit providers obliged to comply with the scheme’s onerous and oppressive rules.
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