As the Financial Services Authority (FSA) announces it has fined Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and NatWest £2.8m for multiple failings in the way they handled customers’ complaints, Which? says ‘banks must fundamentally change they way they treat their customers’.
The FSA found that the banks were falling down in a number of areas. These included delays in responding to customers and poor quality investigations into complaints, with complaint handlers failing to obtain and consider all the appropriate information when making their decision.
Other problems that the investigation brought to light were the issuing of correspondence that failed to fully address all of the concerns raised by customers and failed to explain why complaints had been upheld or rejected as well as customers not receiving their FSA referral rights within the appropriate time period.
Of the complaint files reviewed by the FSA, 53% showed deficient complaint handling; 62% showed a failure to comply with FSA requirements on timeliness and disclosure of Ombudsman referral rights; and 31% failed to demonstrate fair outcomes for consumers.
Take banking complaints seriously
Chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: ‘It appears that instead of taking complaints seriously, RBS and Natwest have been paying lip service to the process, delaying and inconveniencing their customers and systematically rejecting complaints they should have been upholding. They must be made to review the complaints they’ve unfairly rejected and, where appropriate, pay redress to customers who have lost out.’
Reviewing complaints handling
RBS and NatWest have agreed to make significant changes to their complaints handling arrangements. The firms agreed to settle at an early stage in the investigation reducing their penalty from £4m to £2.8m..
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