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UK Cards response to FCA Improving complaints handling

The FCA has published a consultation paper Improving Complaints Handling, following on from their thematic review of complaints. Their aim is to ensure that the process of complaining is straightforward, transparent and fair to consumers, while allowing firms to handle complaints as efficiently as possible and for consumers to have effective access to the ombudsman service if they remain dissatisfied. The paper also sets out proposals to improve the reporting and publication of complaints.

  • We support the aim of the proposals to create a more flexible, customer-centric approach to complaints handling, including extending the timescale for handling informal complaints.
  • We support the reporting of all complaints to FCA, but do not support the publishing of all complaints as we believe the wide definition used by firms on complaints could create a confusing and inconsistent picture for consumers. We suggest the FCA provide guidance on what should be considered a complaint for reporting purposes.
  • We suggest for proportionality purposes that once a complaint has been resolved informally, the complainant should be given the option of whether to receive a ‘summary resolution communication’ in writing, or whether they are content with having resolved the issue in person or over the phone.
  • We do not support the referral of complaints to the FOS immediately after the resolution of an informal complaint, unless for particular areas of customer detriment. We believe the vast majority of complaints should be able to be resolved within a firm without the need to refer to the FOS.
  • We agree that calls relating to complaints should be charged at no more than basic rate cost. However, there are a wide range of post-contract calls and changes to the cost of these other types of calls should be properly assessed. We suggest the FCA be flexible in implementation timing for the change in costs, to allow for collateral to be updated including the numbers printed on cards.
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