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Complaints Procedure

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Making a complaint

We work hard to ensure our Members act within the rules set by the industry regulators.

Please click on the following link and read our Code of Practice. If you think a Member has broken the rules of this Code you can make a complaint by downloading our Complaints Form.

Before making a complaint we would encourage you to carry out the following activities:

 

  • Go to the Members Directory and check whether the company you wish to complain about is a Member of the CSA. If you are still unsure, feel free to contact us. If the company is a Member of the CSA then we are able to help you with your complaint.
  • On first instance, we recommend you contact the Member company to discuss any issues you have and enquire about their complaints process. If you are still dissatisfied with the outcome then you can review our Complaints Procedure.
  • If you believe that the Member has acted in breach of our Code of Practice and the complaint meets the necessary criteria, please complete, sign and return the Complaint Form to our registered address.

CSA Complaints Procedure

 How we deal with your complaint.

All complaints must be submitted in writing, with a signed complaint form. We require the form to be signed so that we, and our Member, have the requisite authorisation to share information.

The following is the sequence of events after the CSA receive a complaint form;

  • CSA receive a signed complaint form
  • CSA register the complaint and send a copy to the relevant Member company
  • The Member is given four weeks to respond directly to the complainant
  • CSA get a copy of the response from the Member company
  • CSA considers both positions and determines whether the Code of Practice has been breached
  • Appropriate action is taken (if required) to remedy the situation
  • If further information is required the CSA contact the relevant party (the complainant or the Member company).
  • After a full review, the CSA provides a formal response to the complainant

 

If you remain unhappy with the outcome of the complaint, you may have justification to escalate the matter to our our head of compliance, Claire Aynsley, claire.aynsley@csa-uk.com.

 

Please note: The CSA can only intervene when;

  • a Member company is in breach of the Code.
  • the company is a Member of the CSA (we cannot act when the complaint is about the client of a Member company, a bank or building society for example).
  • the information supplied by a Member company appears from the facts to be incorrect.

Methods of Contact

 

Address

Credit Services Association

Complaints Department

2 Esh Plaza

Sir Bobby Robson Way

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

NE13 9BA

 

Why the CSA need a signed copy of your complaint

 

Top

24-08-2016

Blog: How can financial services firms encourage customers to report financial abuse?

Alistair Chisholm is Creditor Liaison Policy Officer for Citizens Advice and is the chair of its Addressing Financial Difficulty group, which is a forum including firms, charities, government departments, trade bodies and other organisations involved in dealing with customer debt and financial difficulty, designed to discuss and promote good practice and help consumers address and overcome periods of financial difficulty. He will be speaking on financial abuse at the Credit Services Association’s UK Credit & Collections Conference (UKCCC) on 15 September 2016.

 

In April 2016, we published ‘A framework to help banks, other creditors and advice providers challenge financial abuse in intimate partner relationships’. This report was co-branded with the British Bankers Association, and the launch was supported by Karen Bradley MP, who spoke in her capacity as the (then) Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime. One reason the report is needed is that many people are not aware that domestic abuse can be financial as well as physical. Financial abuse is defined as abuse in intimate relationships that causes direct financial harm or exploits joint resources by controlling a person’s ability to acquire, use, and maintain their own money and financial resources.

New research has found that two in 10 people in the UK have experienced financial abuse in an intimate relationship but one third of financial abuse victims suffer in silence, telling no-one. One of the case studies we referred to was a woman who had suffered serious domestic and financial abuse but was too scared to discuss the issue with her bank when she went into the branch to do so. Financial abuse can trap victims in abusive relationships by isolating them from friends and family, and cutting them off from the money they would need to leave.

Example of abusive behaviours the report identified include:

  • taking out credit and running up debts in a partner’s name

  • using control of finances to prevent a partner from escaping abuse

  • stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job

  • making a partner surrender control over their bank accounts, assets, wages, benefits and other income

  • forcing a partner to ask for money or to account for every penny spent

  • not allowing them to spend money on themselves or their children

  • stealing, taking or demanding money or assets, or destroying property

  • forcing a partner to commit fraud

  • refusing to contribute to household or other costs including child maintenance payments

86% of financial abuse victims also experience other forms of abuse, meaning that many issues that may be contributing to mounting debt can remain hidden from financial services firms.

 

The ASK Routine Enquiry programme at Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice’s ASK Routine Enquiry questions target gender violence and abuse and include:

  • Are you able to talk about this issue at home with your family or partner?

  • Are you ever afraid of your partner?

  • Have you ever changed your behaviour because you are afraid of what your partner might do or say to you?

  • Does your partner constantly check up on you or follow you?

A review of the programme in 2015 found that almost 4,000 clients had been asked a routine enquiry about GVA and 18.5% said Yes, with about 4% experiencing current abuse, 4% having experienced it in last 12 months and 9% having experienced it in the past.

Between 2015 and 2018 the service is being rolled out so that ASK Routine Enquiry questions will be used with all clients with debt, benefit housing and family enquiries in all local offices across the Citizens Advice network and then to all enquiry areas in all local offices between 2018-2021. Citizens Advice only ask clients these questions when we know it is safe to do so:  in a face to face advice interview, in a confidential, private space,  when the client is on their own (or with a baby or toddler only) and when the adviser has had the right training, and the right support is in place.  

 

Spotting suspected financial abuse

However, we do not recommend that creditors or debt collectors adopt the routine enquiry approach. The report does recommend that firms prepare so they can respond well when customers disclose financial and domestic abuse. This will help firms understand their customers problems, and  will help to challenge abuse.  Firms will need clear referral and signposting options to external organisations, including the National Domestic Violence Helpline. It is the customer’s decision on when or whether they seek help, but firms can offer to help customers to find places where they can get further assistance, whatever their choice might be. The report also recommends that firms need a process that staff members can use if they believe anyone (including children) are at serious danger of harm.

 

Addressing financial abuse recommendations

  1. Validate disclosures – offer an accepting and helpful response without becoming involved in the customer’s personal life

  2. Protect confidentiality – offer a tailored approach to keeping them and their information safe by avoiding risks such as unexpected follow up calls

  3. Offer, signpost or refer to the right source of help – help customers access appropriate help and have a process in place for staff to report issues that put customers in serious danger of harm

  4. Be proactive – raise awareness of abuse amongst staff and develop policies that let customers know they will be supported

  5. Help victims to regain control of their financial affairs – help customers by, for example, ensuring that they don’t have to be in contact with abusers

  6. Offer forbearance – provide victims of financial abuse with more support and understanding in dealing with their debt problems

  7. Develop and implement a policy across your organisation – ensure that all customers have a consistently sensitive experience rather than having to rely on coming across a helpful individual

I am very encouraged that the Credit Services Association has asked me to speak on this incredibly important issue for the credit and collections sector at its upcoming conference and I look forward to opening up further dialogue about how we can all work together to tackle financial abuse.