Case studies

Here are some case studies, which are based on actual complaints received by Financial Dispute Resolution Service and how they were resolved. All identifying information has been removed.

Latest Case studies

Claiming Clawback Costs

Michaela* used the services of a financial service provider (FSP) to assist her in restructuring her personal lending. She later sold some significant assets and repaid her lending earlier than expected. She was aware that this would incur an early repayment fee (clawback) to her bank but was not aware that her FSP provider would also charge her a clawback fee for their services if she repaid the loan early.

Small loans can cause big problems

Dorothy* had taken out a series of small cash advance loans from a lender over a period of 12 years. She contacted FDRS as she had fallen behind in her payments and the loan was sent to a debt collector.

Unaffordable car loan

FDRS was approached by a Financial Mentor on behalf of their client. The client purchased a vehicle from a dealership in 2022. The client paid a deposit, and the balance was funded by way of a financial arrangement with a financial provider.

Layby sales

A customer agreed to buy an Xbox from an online provider as a present for her nephew. The customer agreed to pay the purchase price in weekly instalments on the understanding that after 12 instalments, the Xbox would be delivered to her. She would pay the rest of the purchase price off while getting to use the Xbox. This means it was a layby sales agreement. Despite the customer having paid all the instalments as agreed, the Xbox was not delivered on time. 

Non-disclosure of previous medical conditions

To reduce the cost of their premiums, the customer engaged an insurance advisor to review their policy and upon their advice, changed their provider. Later, they discovered that they were not covered by their new insurance policy due to pre-existing medical conditions.  The customer claims they disclosed their conditions to the advisor and believes the application had been altered, with the conditions omitted from the application.

A question of cover – burglary on a building site

The customer was building their own home and had engaged with a financial service provider to ensure that they were protected during the construction of the house. Unfortunately, there was a burglary of the trade-related tools and materials onsite. When the customer proceeded to claim compensation for the burglary, they were informed that the tools and materials had not been part of their cover. 

Superannuation situation

A Customer's complaint concerning the transfer of their Australian superannuation funds to their New Zealand KiwiSaver fund was referred to the Financial Dispute Resolution Service (FDRS). The Customer claims they were misinformed about the process of transferring their funds by cheque when there were other options available that would not have caused significant delays and subsequent monetary loss.

Loan and caveat

We received a complaint from a customer about a loan company. The customer had taken out a loan in early 2020 and the loan company lodged a caveat on the title of a property owned by this customer. Over the course of the loan, the customer fell behind on repayments. 

Cover confusion

The customer and her husband had been paying insurance premiums since 2014 for life insurance and funeral costs.  They recently found out that they were actually only covered for accident and funeral costs. This is not what their insurance agent had told them they were covered for, and the couple believed they were misled.  They wanted the policies to be cancelled and to receive a refund on the funeral cover paid.

Mortgage broker fee

A customer had an existing mortgage with his bank. He intended to subdivide his section and approached a mortgage broker to secure a second loan from another lender to complete this work. He signed a Service Agreement which noted that typically there was no cost to the customer for their services as they obtain commission from the lenders, however there were exceptions and fees were listed for such.

Unsafe relationship and unaffordable loan

A customer was in unsafe relationship when, together with his partner, they took out a loan. The customer felt his partner pressured him into applying for the loan but did not say anything to the financial institution about the physical and mental abuse they were experiencing.

Settling a lending complaint

A customer fell significantly behind on her loan repayments. She was struggling to make ends meet and concerned about the impact that debt collection would have on her. She contacted a local budgeting service for help.

When is a settlement offer reasonable?

A customer signed up for an account with a Contract for Difference (CFD**) provider. Over a short period of time, she incurred substantial losses. She raised a complaint about how the provider operated and the resulting loss of her deposited funds.

Where's my money?

This complaint involved an international money transfer service which had technical issues, resulting in issues processing the transfer of funds. 

Commercial Building Insurance Rate Review

This dispute concerned an alleged failure to reassess an insurance premium following the commencement of the policy. 

A reasonable opportunity to pay before repossession

In late 2019 Ms C took out a loan and used her car as security for the loan. Only a couple of months later Ms C experienced financial hardship when a fire damaged her home.

A mechanical failure should not leave you out of pocket

When Ms N bought an old car, she took out vehicle insurance against mechanical failures. Shortly thereafter the car’s engine broke and Ms N got a quote to have it replaced. 

When suspicion is not enough

This case involved the cancellation of online trading and withholding of customer funds for an alleged breach of obligations on the part of the customer.

A change is not always good

Simon* made a claim, but it was denied due to pre-existing conditions. Unsatisfied, Simon contacted Financial Dispute Resolution Service (FDRS) to complain about the broker and the advice provided...

Changing gear

Despite a specialist assurance, Laura's insurer declined her gearbox repair claim three times. Laura* found it disappointing that her insurer disagreed with the specialist opinion and declined her claims. She made a complaint to her insurer and they offered $1000 goodwill. Laura did not accept the goodwill offer and got in touch with Financial Dispute Resolution Service...


Kiara* contacted Financial Dispute Resolution Service about a clawback fee being charged... 

Years of talk but no communication

The Financial Dispute Resolution Service team received several calls and emails from a customer within a short timeframe. Sean* was extremely frustrated and felt that he has been going around in circles with his insurance broker...

Refund or not?

After withdrawing from a training programme and proposed investment, the customers sought a refund...

Transmission fault

A couple got in touch with Financial Dispute Resolution Service when their insurer declined their claim for a repair...

Keeping good records

Max and Alice* were approached by a financial adviser about their insurance needs. The couple had very little insurance and having just purchased a new home, needed financial advice...

Friendship tested

An older couple had been clients of an authorised financial adviser for over 20 years...

Expert v Expert

A newly wed couple were the owners of a young puppy and they took out pet insurance. At four months of age, the puppy developed a condition, which required a trip to the vet. The examination revealed their young dog needed a costly examination...

Disclosure on both sides is important

A single-parent needed to borrow funds for several expenses and Christmas gifts...

Early Resolution – A Question of Commission Claw Back

We had a call from Mr Jones* who wanted to make a complaint about his adviser... 

Disagreement Over Purchase Agreement

Lou* approached Financial Dispute Resolution Service with a complaint concerning one of our members that centred around the interpretation of a particular clause... 

The importance of not jumping to conclusions

One of the indicators of a member who might be finding themselves in trouble is an increase in complaints arriving with their... 

The Mortgage Broker – lending advice or losses

Jane sought financial advice following her separation from her partner. At the time, Jane had a number of loans with...

Previous Case studies

A Horse Cover

An animal owner took out an insurance policy for his horse through a New Zealand insurer’s online application. The application was made during a holiday weekend in which he intended to collect the newly purchased horse. However, ....

An overcharged mobile

Mariama had a credit with a mobile phone provider that she no longer used. Her budget adviser contacted the company asking the credit be paid to Mariama’s bank account and the account be closed...

Apology worth its weight in gold

Bob, a customer of an independent financial adviser, came to Financial Dispute Resolution Service with a complaint about his interactions with his adviser. Bob felt that his adviser had misled him about...

Debt vs profit

Sarah needed help with a whole of life insurance policy against which she had taken out a loan. A financial adviser gave her several options. She chose the option...

Do you take your medication

Annamaria applied for a life insurance policy. She talked to an insurance agent, answered medical questions and provided general information about her health – including...

Ensuring insurance coverage

A family came to Financial Dispute Resolution Service feeling that their insurance broker had neglected to ensure that their medical insurance cover continued to be adequate, fit for purpose, and financially smart. They discovered...

Exotic currency pairs & geo- political change

An online currency trader with a taste for the exotic was left high and dry when a sudden geopolitical change blew his margins and his broker wanted a top-up...

Father Loses House

Sam took out a $10,000 loan with a finance company to help with his struggling business. To secure this loan, Sam’s father, Joseph, provided a guarantee, which was secured by a mortgage on Joseph’s home...

First Home Kiwi Saver Rules

Louie wanted to use his KiwiSaver funds to build a new home. The problem was whether he qualified as a first-time homebuyer...

Homeowner, Builder and Insurer 

James contracted a builder to build his new house. Toward the end of the construction, James raised several defects with the builder... 

James and his bond

James, a tourist to New Zealand was asked to pay a refundable bond for a car rental. If the car was returned undamaged, the bond would be refunded. James made the payment on his credit card...

Lost in Translation

Tom’s dream of buying his first-home was stalled when the advice he took went wrong – and there was no documentation to back him up...

Milking the Top Ups

Jeannie took out a $3,000 loan to help ease the stress of a difficult financial period. Based on her good payment history, a year later she received a text saying she was approved for a loan top-up...

Reading the fine print

Robert took out a short-term loan and wanted to pay it back in full six months later. It was then that he looked at the loan paperwork and saw that he had been charged a loan processing fee, a broker fee...

Trading online and forced liquidation

Margaret claimed she suffered a loss of over $30,000 USD while trading via an online foreign exchange trading platform. She complained that an order was incorrectly closed by a “forced liquidation”...

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