The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has published a consultation paper relating to amendments to its standard terms affecting businesses subject to the Voluntary Jurisdiction in Dispute Resolution: Complaints sourcebook (DISP) of the FCA Handbook.

The FCA Handbook rules currently require firms to refer customers in writing to the availability of information regarding complaints procedures at or immediately after the point of sale or, if there is no point of sale, at or immediately after the point when contact is first made with the customer. In practice, this means that not-for-profit (NFP) debt advice bodies are required to provide information in writing about the availability of complaints information at the first point of contract when they give debt advice. This creates an additional burden in general but in particular when debt advice is provided over the telephone.

The FCA proposed in their consultation to amend the DISP rules to state that NFP debt advice bodies may meet their obligation by making an oral reference to the availability of complaints information if they do not communicate in writing with the customer at that point. However, they must refer to the availability of complaints information the first time they communicate with the customer in writing. FOS proposes making the same change in relation to its voluntary jurisdiction if the FCA proceeds to make this amendment to the DISP rules for the compulsory jurisdiction.

For the consultation click here.