The first tranche of new complaints handling rules required by the European Union’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive are already in force.

Final response letters must continue to explain why a complaint is being accepted or rejected, and detail what redress (if any) is to be provided. The letter must now give the website address of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), as well as making the customer aware of their right to refer the matter to the FOS.

Firms also now need to decide whether they will consent to the FOS considering time barred complaints about their firm and/or complaints which are referred to the FOS more than six months after the date of the final response. Specified wording now needs to be included in the final response letter regarding the decisions the firm has taken regarding these issues. There is no scope to vary this wording, which can be found in DISP 1 Annex 3 of the Financial Conduct Authority’s Dispute Resolution (DISP) sourcebook.

Firms also need to amend their websites so that they contain a link to the FOS website, and give an explanation of the FOS’s services.