FSCL’s complaints up by a third so far

by Maryvonne Gray 14 Dec 2016

FSCL’s complaints up by a third so far

Financial Services Complaints Ltd (FSCL) has seen a busy start to the reporting year with a 32% increase in new cases opened compared to the same period last year.

CEO Susan Taylor said there is no apparent reason for the trend: “Complaints are up across all financial service sectors,” she told members.

In their recently-released annual report, FSCL revealed they had formally investigated and resolved 180 cases, answering 3,600 consumer enquiries and complaints.

The scheme saw continued growth in membership too, which allowed it, as a non-profit organisation, to reduce participants’ annual fees by 20%.

Board chairman Kenneth Johnston said: “This is the fourth year in a row that FSCL has delivered fee reductions, a record of which the Board is proud.

“As a non-profit organisation, we only charge participants the cost of providing our services to them and their clients – no more.”

Johnston maintained that quality had not been sacrificed as a consequence of the fee reduction.

He said the 87% satisfaction level with FSCL’s services by both participants and consumers backed this up.

Johnston said the scheme’s next priority was to raise consumer awareness of its services, and to do this it was continuing its bid to use the name ‘ombudsman’.

Consent had been declined when FSCL sought consent from the Chief Ombudsman to use the title, but the scheme is not backing down, since an independent report into FSCL’s services and processes released early last year had verified the scheme met all the recognised criteria for an ombudsman scheme.

Johnston said: “Research has shown that dispute resolution schemes which are able to use the name ‘ombudsman’ have a higher level of awareness and, possibly, trust by consumers.

“When consent was declined, although reluctant to engage in litigation with the Chief Ombudsman, the Board decided that the issue was of such importance that it should seek a judicial review of the decision.”

He added: “I expect to be able to report further next year as to the outcome of the review proceedings.”

FSCL also planned to build on the success of its inaugural conference held in 2015 with a one-day conference – titled ‘Seeing the wood for the trees’ – planned for 18 May 2017 in Auckland.

Topics to be explored include becoming an expert communicator, understanding why some people commit fraud, and learning more about FSCL investigates complaints with some information on topical complaint issues.

 
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