FCA publishes guidance on motor finance complaints

FCA has published a new page on its website giving guidance to firms on what it expects of them, if they are affected by the DCA review. The guidance covers:

  • keeping customers informed: responding in line with existing policies and requirements, not least the customer support outcome under the Consumer Duty, and in particular responding promptly if customers ask whether their agreements included a DCA and updating websites to reflect the changes to complaints time limits for relevant complaints;
  • dealing with DCA complaints: making sure firms tell customers about the pause to time limits and the reason for it, for both new and existing complaints – while dealing under normal rules with complaints where the DCA is not a relevant consideration;
  • FOS deadlines: explaining to customers the impact of the extended time to complain to FOS – both to customers who have already received a final response and those that the firm now responds to;
  • record retention: making sure firms keep any records that are or could be relevant to DCA complaints or claims in relation to DCAs entered into before 28 January 2021, regardless of whether there has actually been any complaint or claim. This requirement applies until 11 January 2025;
  • co-operation with skilled person: all firms participating in FCA’s skilled persons report work have now been told that they will be involved, but if needed, FCA might sample other firms;
  • making redress offers: if firms want to give a final response or make a redress offer, they can do so in compliance with the usual DISP rules;
  • complaints made before the pause: if a firm has not yet provided a final response on a complaint that it received before 17 November 2023 but had told the customer it had the right to complain to FOS in a holding response, the complaint falls outside the new rules. But the customer can choose to wait for the final response before referring to FOS. If the complaint is already with FOS, firms should cooperate as they usually do;
  • FOS decisions: FOS will be progressing complaints it already has, and firms must pay up where a consumer accepts a FOS decision;
  • Non-DCA complaints: complaints that either don’t involve DCAs at all, or are for other types of finance even if there was a DCA (for example, FCA says, with towed caravan finance) fall outside the new rules;
  • financial resources: firms must make sure they have enough resource to cover additional operational costs from increased complaints and meeting the costs of resolving them; and
  • Consumer Duty: FCA stresses that nothing about these changes affect its expectations in relation to the Consumer Duty.

Emma Radmore