Firms will be given until the end of the third business day after receipt to try and resolve complaints informally. They will need to send a letter to the customer summarising the actions they have taken in resolving the complaint informally, and will now need to make the customer aware of their right to refer such complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). At present, informally resolved complaints do not need a final response letter or similar, and the customer does not need to be informed of the FOS.
Firms will need to provide more information on their six-monthly complaints returns under the new rules. This will include the need to report numbers of informally resolved complaints.
Customers who telephone to complain must not be asked to call on a premium rate phone number. This restriction will also apply to all customer service calls which are made post-contract.
These rules have been finalised, but will not come into force until June 30 2016, with the exception of the restrictions on premium rate phone numbers, which take effect from October 26 2015.