Lessons from complaints

The overwhelming majority of complaints received in the 12 months to 30 June have been about financial service providers' failure to follow their customers instructions, making unauthorised transactions on their customers accounts or customers are not happy about their financial provider's decision.

Yet we found that in most cases the scheme member was acting within the terms and conditions that  their customer had willingly and often over exuberantly entered into with them.

The problem was, all too often the customer has not understood the terms and conditions of the contract and / or the consequences of failing to adhere to those terms.

However we also found that on a number of ocassions, the scheme member could have done a  lot better by providing clear,  concise and accessible terms and disclosures; being more considerate of their customers language, culture and often lack of "sophistication". In some cases we were disturbed to find what appeared to be predatorybehaviour.

Happily most of our scheme members responded positively to the warning,and quickly took action to address to avert what could be interpreted as systemic issues that we are obliged to report to the regulator.

The lessons:

For consumers : read and understand the terms and conditions. If you can't get help or advice, perhaps don't proceed with the purchase or contract.Think twice before you buy.

For financial service providers;avoid complaints by ensuring your contracts and disclosures are clear and concise, that  your customers understand what they are getting into. Save yourself a lot of time, cost and hassle. .

For some interesting reviews go to case studies.