Financial Services Complaints Ltd (FSCL
) has revealed it has seen an 18% increase in telephone and emailed complaints and enquiries in the six months to 31 December 2015.
The dispute resolution company said its team had dealt with over 1,800 complaints and enquiries from consumers, however the number of cases taken up for formal investigation fell by about 20% to 84.
“As usual, complaints against insurance companies made up about a third of the total of cases under investigation, with the biggest fall in cases against lenders,” FSCL CEO Susan Taylor
“Complaints against other financial services sectors, including insurance brokers, financial advisers, fund managers and credit unions, remained at fairly similar levels to last year.”
Taylor said while there were more complaints the results were definitely positive.
“The good news stories to take from these statistics is that it shows that most complaints are being settled directly between our scheme participant and their customer or clients, as very few of the complaints we refer back to the participant’s internal complaints process end up back with us for formal investigation.
“It is encouraging to see that so many complaints are being resolved directly between scheme participant and customer, which is exactly what should happen.
“We hope that the tools we have given participants in the form of complaint manuals and training have helped to achieve this excellent result.”
Taylor also said it was important to understand what exactly constitutes a complaint, as participants often asked them for clarification.
“Your customer or client does not have to use the word ‘complaint’ in order to lodge a complaint,” she said, and referred to a recent case study involving a mortgage broker.
The broker had met with a client who had wanted to discuss options around refinancing her house and although the client decided not to proceed with the proposed refinancing the broker billed her for $1,500 for the initial consultation.
The client’s lawyer wrote to the broker and objected, since he had not informed her of his fee schedule, but then she received communication from Baycorp which had been assigned to recover the fee.
The client’s lawyer wrote to the broker again and said he would be contacting FSCL
over the matter.
“[He] had difficulty recognising he had received a complaint from his customer.
“Under our terms of reference, a complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction made to a participant related to its products or services where a response or a resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected.
“We informed the broker that under our definition of complaint, the client first raised her complaint when her lawyer contacted him disputing the fee. It was clear that she was dissatisfied that a fee had been charged.”