July 21, 2011

If there’s one thing this world could use a little more of, it surely has to be complaining. F-type bodies like the FSA, the FOS and the FSCS positively thrive on complaints and are dedicated to fostering and nurturing them.

Imagine the FSA’s consternation, then, upon discovering that financial services firms have been routinely binning complaint letters generated in bulk to standard templates via claims management companies.

Let’s face it, complaining is something we should all do more of. We all know that, of course. But, all too often, we Brits don’t make a fuss because we can’t be bothered, we’re afraid someone will spit in our food, or we’re naively unaware that we have anything to complain about.

Now that claims management companies are taking the initiative and lending members of the public a helping hand with their complaining, the FSA is keen to see the good work kept up.

The regulator has officially warned financial services firms that they must consider all customers’ complaints fairly – regardless of how they are made. Standard letters may not be balled-up, tossed aside, or otherwise disregarded. Sure, the complainant might not be that sincerely aggrieved. They might well not have bothered if a CMC hadn’t put them up to it. But now “Each complaint must be assessed on its merits, regardless of the process by which it was initiated,” warns the FSA’s implacably worded guidance note.

Sounds like TCF gone mad, if you ask Bankstone News.

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One of the things claims management companies have been encouraging people to complain about recently is missold PPI, for £50m’s worth of which it now seems insurance intermediaries will collectively pay, following the failure of PPI provider Wilmslow Financial Services in May, via the FSCS’s SBO2 insurance intermediation class, for which the annual levy has risen from £8.5m last year to £69.5m this and will now, no doubt, rise again next year.


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