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The FCA have finalised new complaints handling rules, which take effect from the 30th June 2016. The new rules will give firms more time to resolve complaints in a non formal way but will also mean all complaints will have to be reported on Gabriel returns and a new written communication sent. We have summarised the changes below
The key changes to the complaints handling rules are:
1. Extension of the “next business day” rule to close of three business days without a final response letter
2. Reporting all complaints including those handled by the close of three business days.
3. Raising awareness of the Ombudsman by sending a summary resolution communication.
4. Limiting the cost of calls consumers make to firms to a maximum basic rate.
The time limit by which you can handle complaints less formally without sending a final response letter has been extended from the close of the next business day to the close of three business days after you receive the complaint.
If a complaint has been resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction by the close of the third business day, then you will not have to send a final response letter, tailored to the specific complaint and individual concerned. Instead, firms will have to send a written, ‘summary resolution communication’, detailed below.
You will be required to report all complaints including those handled by the close of three business days. These will be reported on the updated GABRIEL electronic reporting system as normal. Details of all complaints including the non formal resolved ones should be recorded within your standard complaints log or other reporting system used.
You will be required to send a summary resolution communication for all complaints resolved within three business days and allow complainants to complain direct to the ombudsman service if they remain dissatisfied. Complaints handled in a formal manor those after three working days would receive the same communication eithin the final response letter. This change is to ensure those complainants who have been resolved quickly in a non formal way also receive information relating to the ombudsman.
The rules will be flexible as to the format in which the communication can be sent, and a template form can be used. You can also add further content to the template if you wish such as making the complainant aware they can also get back in touch with you to consider the issue further if all concerns have not been addressed.
The summary resolution communication should only be sent if you believe the complaint has been resolved. If the complaint is resolved over the phone or in person, you should confirm orally that a written acknowledgement will be sent, including information about the ombudsman service, in the form of the summary resolution communication.
The summary resolution communication will need to detail:
1. Refers to the fact the complainant has made a complaint and informs them that you now consider the complaint to be resolved.
2. Tell the complainant that if they decide they are dissatisfied with the resolution of the complaint that they may be able to refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service
3. Whether or not you consent to waive the relevant time limits, dependent on the decision here you will need to include appropriate wording as set out in DISP 1 Annex 3.
4. Provide the Financial Ombudsman Service website and refer to the availability of further information on the service.
In addition to the above, you must provide only telephone numbers which cost consumers no more than the ‘basic rate’ when calling about a contract already entered into with you. As an example a basic rate would be standard geographical numbers (01, 02, and 03), free of charge calls and standard mobile numbers provided you normally use your mobile to receive telephone calls
If you are a member of H3 you will receive a copy of the template detailed above, if you would like to find out more information about the service we provide as well as a no obligation quote please get in touch via the contact page.