The FSA has increased the maximum enforceable award the FOS can make to £150,000. This will apply to all complaints made after 1 January 2012, regardless of when the act or omission occurred.
Further, the draft Financial Services Bill provides that the FOS will be required to publish reports on its determinations into consumer complaints, naming and potentially shaming businesses involved. The details of individual FOS determinations remain confidential, but the businesses will be named, even if the case against them is found to be groundless. Complainants, meanwhile, will remain anonymous. Businesses may be less inclined to refer cases for final determination, because even if they defend the complaint successfully, they may still suffer reputational damage. There is an exception – where the Ombudsman deems publication “inappropriate”. Firms will undoubtedly require clarification on this point. The FOS has just published its consultation paper on its publication proposals. For more information on this, please see our Regulatory Blog here.