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The Credit Services Association (CSA)
FCA consults on proposals to improve complaints handling
On 12 December 2014, the FCA published a consultation paper on improving complaints handling (CP14/30).
The proposals in CP14/30 follow the publication of the FCA's thematic review report on compliant handling (TR14/18) in November 2014 (see Legal update, FCA reports on findings of complaint handling thematic review and intends to consult on potential DISP changes by end of 2014). They are intended to improve the way complaints are dealt with by firms and reported, and ensure that the complaints process is straightforward, transparent and fair to consumers. To that end the key proposals:
- Limit the cost of calls that consumers make to firms when complaining, as well as for other post-contractual calls, to a maximum "basic rate".
- Extend the time period for firms to deal with a less complex complaint without the need for a formal letter.
- Improve consumer's awareness of their right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and allow complainants to refer all cases to the FOS immediately after receiving the firm's response to a less complex complaint.
- Ensure firms report and publish all complaints to the FCA and not just those resolved after the close of the next business day.
- Make improvements to the complaints return.
In chapter 5 of CP14/30, the FCA and the FOS set out how they propose to implement the Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive (2013/11/EU) (ADR Directive) and the impact this will have on the FOS' procedures. These include proposals to:
- Retain the existing six month and six and three year time limits for complaints made to the FOS.
- Ensure that once a firm has consented to the FOS considering a complaint it should not be permitted to withdraw consent.
- Extend the definition of eligible complainant to make it consistent with the ADR Directive.
- Amend the grounds on which the FOS can dismiss a complaint, and amend the test case rules so that they can only be invoked with the consumer's consent.
The FCA also seeks views on an amendment it needs to make to the Dispute Resolution Complaints sourcebook (DISP) to implement the Mortgage Credit Directive (2014/17/EU) (MCD) relating to the timing of complaints procedure disclosure for intermediaries within the scope of the MCD.
The proposed Handbook text is set out in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive, Complaints Handling and Call Charges Instrument 2015 (which is annexed to CP14/30).
The deadline for responses to the proposals in CP14/30 is 13 March 2015.