Changes to FCA complaints handling rules come into force on 30 June 2016

Fri 17th June 2016

Over the last 3 years the FCA has made a number of changes to Complaints Handling Rules and the latest will take effect from 30th June 2016.

In December 2014 the FCA issued a consultation document ‘Improving Complaints Handling’ to improve UK personal claims and complaints handling. The results of the consultation exercise resulted in a UK Complaints Code and changes to the rules started to come into effect in 2015.

In 26th October 2015 a limit was brought in for the cost of calls consumers make to financial services firms. The introduction of a basic call rate for complaints handling prevented consumers being charges a premium amount.

From 30th June 2016 changes to the complaints reporting requirements will come into effect. These relate to the next business day rule, which currently applies to complaints handling. It permits firms to handle complaints less formally where they are resolved by the next business day. The FCA is extending this rule to three days, allowing firms more time to resolve complaints. If a resolution is achieved during this period firms must send their customer a template message which makes them aware of their right to take the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

These changes also mean that consumers will have more access to complaints data as financial services companies are required to report all complaints to the FCA, even those resolved in the three day period. Additionally from September 2016 firms will have to send FCA data twice a year on the number of complaints they receive.

The new rules affect all firms across the financial services sectors and the FCA will continue to make sure all providers are complying. All of these changes are designed to provide consumers with more information about their rights and give financial services firms more time to resolve complaints before they escalate.