Last year (2013-14) FOS received more than half a million complaints because customers were unhappy with
how their original complaints were handled
. This is one of the reasons why the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) are reviewing how financial institutions deal with complaints initially, so as to relieve the burden.
FCA has conducted a review of 15 financial firms to see how barriers to effective complaint handling can be removed. The 15 firms comprise seven banks, two building societies, three general insurers and three life insurers .
Some of the
recommendations of the FCA include:
• dedicated complaint telephone lines should not use numbers that charge consumers more than a ‘basic rate’ (including mobile users);
• review the biannual complaints return to include more consumer-centric measures; and
• revise the FCA complaints publication, for example including more consumer-centric measures and contextualised data.
However perhaps the most significant recommendation was that if a complaint is resolved by the end of the next business day the firm is no longer required to issue a formal written response, informing the customer of its
rights to complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (“FOS”).
In light of the recommendations the FCA are now doing some
further research, with a view to developing policy proposals.
For more information about any of the above or for practical advice on this or any other aspect of banking and financial disputes, please contact
Tim Gower of the Berg Banking Litigation Team on 0161 829 2599 or email him at
(The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Berg or any of its partners or employees. Professional legal advice should
be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.)