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FSA tightens rules on complaints handling

The FSA has issued a package of measures in an attempt to improve complaint handling standards.

These new requirements apply to all regulated business activities and products sold.

“It is essential that motor retailers understand and implement these new requirements as well checking to ensure that their current procedures are up to date and take into account previously notified changes,” said Lorraine Tromans, group compliance manager, Alliance Consultancy and Training Solutions.

“The FSA have made clear their zero tolerance attitude to non-compliance.”

The main changes and effective dates are:

• From September 1, retailers must have identified a senior person to take responsibility for overseeing complaints handling. From the same date dealers have to be able to demonstrate they have put in place a process to identify any recurring or systemic problems.

The guidance previously issued requiring firms to undertake such a review only related to PPI complaints, but from September this guidance extends to any product.

The new guidance also expect retailers to take account of ombudsman decisions as well as previous customer complaints they have received and to consider the position of non-complainants where systemic problems are identified

• From July 1, 2012 the limit on awards made by the Financial Ombudsman Service increases from £100,000 to £150,000

• From July 1, 2012 the ‘two-stage’ complaints handling rule is being abolished aimed at ensuring retailers resolve complaints fairly.

Finally, the FSA announced that they will shortly be issuing a joint statement with the Ministry Of Justice, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme on the actions of claims management companies.

Hopefully, this statement will announce changes and tighter controls on these companies to ensure that both retailers as well as consumers are treated fairly.

Guidance and further information is available from the AM Compliance Programme. For details please click here.

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