Financial Serviced and Pensions Ombudsman Overview of Complaints 2019

 

 

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Overview of Complaints 2019

 

The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO), Ger Deering, has published an overview of the complaints received last year.

 

Powers of the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman

 

The Ombudsman’s office was established by the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Act 2017 and opened for business on the 1st of January 2018. Its services are available to consumers, as well as businesses and other entities with a turnover not exceeding €3 million.

 

The Ombudsman can direct a financial-services provider to pay compensation of up to €500,000 to a complainant and/or to rectify the conduct that is the subject of the complaint. There is no limit on the value of the rectification that can be directed.

 

Decisions issued by the FSPO are legally binding on both parties and can only be appealed to the High Court.

 

The FSPO tries first to deal with complaints informally by hearing both parties and engaging with them to try to reach a resolution that both parties can accept. Where complaints cannot be resolved informally, they are referred for formal investigation.

 

Overview of Complaints 2019

 

The overview published on the 31st of March 2020 reported that a total of 5,275 complaints were received and 4,969 of these complaints were deemed to be eligible by the FSPO.

 

A total of 1,399 of complainants received compensation and/or redress through the services of the FSPO last year. Out of these 1,399, a total of 983 went through mediation, 215 were formally investigated and 201 legally binding decisions were issued by the FSPO.

 

The overview provides an analysis of the sectors giving rise to complaints in 2019:

  • 2,862 (58%) of complaints related to banking products,
  • Mortgage complaints accounted for 30% of these complaints,
  • 1,660 (33%) of complaints received related to insurance products,
  • 233 (5%) of complaints related to investment products,
  • 214 (4%) complaints related to pension schemes.

The top five conducts most complained about include, maladministration, customer services, rejection of a claim, arrears handling and disputed transactions.

The overview contains anonymised case studies of settlements reached my the FSPO where a legally binding decision was not required including the following:

Case Study 1:

The payment of €28,000 in interest rate adjustment and €18,000 in compensation to a complainant whose mortgage was incorrectly classified as an investment property and who was not afforded the protections of the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP). 

Case Study 2:

A settlement of €36,000 to a couple who had four mortgages with their bank. One of their mortgages was impacted by the tracker mortgage examination directed by the Central Bank and there was a disagreement between the parties as to whether a tracker rate should have applied to their second mortgage. There was also disagreement as to what rate applied to their third mortgage, and issues concerning conduct around their fourth mortgage. 

Case Study 3:

The payment of €20,000 to a couple whose holiday home received €57,000 worth of damage due to a burst water pipe. €14,500 of the claim had already been paid prior to mediation. 

Case Study 4:

The payment of €3,000 to a complainant following damage caused to his car by rats.

As well as the overview, the FSPO published two digests earlier this year, one on the legally binding decisions it had issued in 2019 and the other on their decisions around tracker mortgage related complaints.

Making a Complaint

The FSPO said his office has implemented a business continuity plan due to the restrictions put in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and confirmed that the FSPO will deal with any complaints arising from the current situation in the normal way.

It is important to note that complainants must make a formal complaint to their financial service provider and give that provider the opportunity to resolve the complaint, before making a complaint to the FSPO.

If you have any queries in relation to this article or for any further information please do not hesitate to contact Brendan Dillon on 01 2960666 or info@dillon.ie