The FCA has published Policy Statement 15/2: Improving complaints handling, feedback on CP14/30 and final rules (PS15/2).

In PS15/2 the FCA explains its response to the feedback it received to Consultation Paper 14/30: Improving complaints handling (CP14/30). The FCA also explains its new rules on complaints handling for financial services firms, as well as its rules limiting the cost of telephone calls which consumers make to firms. In PS15/2 the FCA confirms the following new requirements for firms:

  • extending the ‘next business day rule’, where firms are permitted to handle complaints less formally, without sending a final response letter, to the close of three business days after the date of receipt;
  • reporting all complaints, including those handled by the close of three business days after the firm receives them;
  • raising consumer awareness of the ombudsman service, by sending a ‘summary resolution communication’ following the resolution of complaints handled by the close of the third business day after receipt;
  • revised rules limiting the cost of calls consumers make to firms to a maximum ‘basic rate’, including all post-contractual calls and all complaints calls; and
  • the FCA’s new ‘complaints return’ which requires firms to send it data twice a year on the number of complaints they receive.

In CP14/30 the FCA also included a chapter on implementing the Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive and the Mortgage Credit Directive and its response to this part of the consultation was published separately in Handbook Notice 21.

The FCA’s new rules affect firms across all financial services sectors. All FCA-regulated firms must have complaints-handling processes and follow its rules and guidance on how to respond promptly and fairly. These requirements apply to complaints relating to any business that firms carry on within the UK (as well as by certain branches of UK firms in the EEA and by branches of certain EEA firms in the UK carrying out activities in the UK).

The rules in Appendix 1, on extending the ‘next business day rule’, complaints reporting and requiring firms to send a summary resolution communication come into force on 30 June 2016. The rules on call charges come into force on 26 October 2015. Parts 4 and 7 of Annex C (amendments to the Dispute Resolution: Complaints sourcebook (DISP)) of the instrument come into force on 23 July 2015. The amendment in Part 4 is guidance on the effect of section 234B of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 which concerns situations where liabilities have been transferred from one respondent to another. Section 234B came into force on 1 April 2013. Part 7 contains an amendment to the guidance on notification requirements, which is in Schedule 2 of DISP.

View FCA finalises rules on complaints and call charges, 23 July 2015