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From 30 June 2016 there will be new rules for complaints handling for firms that are FCA authorised, such as franchised dealers, who sell FCA regulated products including vehicle finance, GAP and insured warranties.
Increased Time Limit to Handle Claims
The ‘next business day’ rule will be extended to three days instead of the following day allowing firms longer to handle complaints informally. This will avoid less complex complaints having to be dealt with more formally and dispense with a need to send a final response letter if the complaint is resolved within the new extended timeframe.
Reporting of Complaints
Firms have not been required to report the number of complaints they receive that are satisfactorily resolved by close of next business day. From 30 June FCA will require reporting of the numbers of all complaints received and to publish this information. The FCA believe most complaints are unreported to them as they are resolved within the ‘next business day’ rules and because of this they think the date to receive a complaint is incomplete. By mandating the reporting of all complaints they believe they will be able to compare firms performance in this area better. The FCA also think the publishing of complaints data will lead to more transparency for the public.
Firms will be required to send to a customer a ‘summary resolution communication’ where a complaint is resolved within three business days. This communication is a formal written acknowledgement of the complaint and details that the consumer still has the right to refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) even if resolved by the firm. The FCA see this as an incentive to ensure firms handle complaints correctly from the onset. They also believe consumers will be better informed of their rights.
The basic content of the summary resolution communication is prescribed by FCA rules but firms may add more content if required. This allows firms to suggest to a consumer that as well as being able to go to the FOS they may consider referring the complaint back to the firm before doing so if they are not satisfied with the initial outcome of the complaint.
Summary resolution communication must be in writing but may be in a letter or email and must include the following:
In addition, the communication must be set out clearly with the above information being in a prominent and accessible fashion. The firm may send the communication in more than one method if this would meet the customer’s needs better, e.g. both email and letter or letter and by phone. This would particularly be the case if the complaint had been verbal or by email.
For further information please contact the NFDA on 01788 538303.