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News for Members

27 July 2015

New Rules from the FCA on Complaints & Call Charges

New rules published today by the FCA will allow consumers and firms to benefit from better complaint handling.  Also, financial services firms will no longer be able to charge their customers premium rates when they make telephone calls to ask for assistance or complain.

The new rules affect firms across all financial services sectors. All FCA-regulated firms must have complaints-handling processes and follow the rules and guidance on how to respond promptly and fairly.

To summarise, the changes are as follows:

Financial services firms will have three days to address a complaint to a consumer's satisfaction rather than trying to meet the current one day target.  This will help firms to resolve complaints first time, benefitting both consumers and firms.  The FCA expects this change to result in fewer consumers having to take their complaints further.

If a complaint is resolved within the three day period, firms are required to send a simpler, templated message to their customers, informing the complainant of their right to take the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.  

Consumers will also have access to more data on complaints made to financial services companies.  Firms will be required to report all complaints to the FCA, which will then publish the data and provide additional context to allow consumers to compare firms more effectively.  Currently firms are only required to report only those complaints which take longer than a day to resolve to the FCA.

From September 2016 the FCA's biannual complaint data release will change. The new fuller data set will not be comparable to historic data published by the FCA but will be more informative for consumers and the industry and will provide better intelligence to the regulator.

Christopher Woolard, director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said:  “Our rules will help deliver the quicker, easier and fairer resolution to complaints that consumers want. Getting this right is also vital for firms. A properly resolved complaint can keep a customer happy, and protect the firm’s reputation. But, more than that, effective complaints handling systems can act as an early warning system for firms.”

To read the full policy document, visit the FCA website.

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