Premium rate lines banned for financial firmsFinance companies forced to play fair with customers

26 July 2015

piggy bank with coins and newspapers

New rules mean financial services firms can no longer charge premium rates when you phone up to complain.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced several changes which should improve the way complaints are dealt with for consumers and firms.

It said financial services firms will be unable to charge their customers premium rates when they make telephone calls to ask for assistance or to complain.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘Nobody should have to pay a premium to complain, so we're pleased the FCA is making financial firms play fair with their customers.'

If you have a financial complaint which hasn’t been dealt with to your satisfaction, find out how to escalate it to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Three days to respond to financial complaints

The new rules also give financial services firms more time to resolve a complaint less formally.

Financial companies will have three days to tackle a complaint to a customer's satisfaction rather than needing to meet the current target of one day.

The move is intended to allow firms more time to clear up a gripe to the customer's satisfaction in the first instance and could save some customers the hassle of having to take the complaint further.

If a complaint isn't resolved during this three day period, firms will be required to send their customers a simple message, telling them of their right to take their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

You must contact the FOS within six months of receiving a final response from the firm, or the FOS may not be able to deal with your complaint. It's free to take a complaint to the FOS.  

The new rules on call charges will come into force on 26 October 2015, while the changes extending the length of time that firms are given to clear up complaints will come into force on 30 June 2016.

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