No More Fobbing Off Complaints, Promises Watchdog

Customers who feel fobbed off when they are complaining about financial services should find their gripes are treated more seriously after firms agreed to make the process easier after a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) review.

Following the review, the FCA is going to change rules about complaint handling to include recommendations from financial firms, including:

Complaint telephone lines are charged at basic call rates instead of premium rates

  • Giving customers longer to agree complaint resolution
  • Changing the way complaints are reported to the FCA to include all complaints
  • Changing the way complaints are handled to give better results to consumers
  • Operating a ‘name and shame’ list detailing complaints against firms

Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA, said: “The way firms handle complaints is important. The process can highlight problems with procedures and increase customer satisfaction if managed properly.”

Inconsistent compensation

The review also uncovered some common issues about complaint handling for financial firms, such as:

  • Customers are not always considered when firms change administrative procedures
  • Inconsistent compensation is offered when a complaint is upheld, especially for distress and inconvenience
  • Financial firms do not spend time analysing complaints to highlight the causes and act on smoothing the problems
  • Managers do not receive effective reports about complaints and are often unaware of root causes

The FCA plans to put the results of the review out to consultation and to change complaint handling rules for financial firms.

Warnings about bogus advisers 

Dealing with an unregulated firm

If you buy shares, save money or invest with an unregulated firm, you lose any protection offered by the Financial Ombudsman and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Broadly, you have no independent place to complain if the deal goes wrong and are unlikely to win any compensation.

Checking if a firm is regulated

Go to the Financial Services Register to check if a firm is regulated in the UK.

Reporting a suspected bogus adviser

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