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April 29, 2010    

FSA exposes banks’ disdain for customers

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by David Masters
FSA exposes banks' disdain for customers

Senior managers of the UK’s high street banks have been labelled a “disgrace” for failing to take customer complaints seriously.

The Financial Services Consumer Panel (FSCP) said the way banks handle customer complaints is “lamentable”.

The comments came after a review by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) found that senior staff in the majority of the UK’s banks have no interest in dealing with complaints, and that there is no incentive for staff to pay compensation even when banks are at fault.

“This FSA report shows that the way banks are handling complaints is lamentable, and can cause real suffering to consumers,” said Adam Phillips, FSCP chairperson.

He added that banks who fob off customer complaints need to be exposed.

Banks will only change when their behaviour is subject to public scrutiny, he said.

The FSA said the way banks currently deal with complaints is unacceptable.

“A culture of fair complaint handling is an important indicator of whether a firm is committed to treating its customers fairly,” said Dan Walters, FSA director of conduct risk.

“It is vital that customers know that if something goes wrong, their complaint will be dealt with in a reasonable way and that they will get a fair outcome.

“While we found some good practice, there is clearly evidence of unacceptable standards of complaints handling in banks.”

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