Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Ruling 11.01.2024/Paused Response Complaints:
Following the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) latest guidelines issued on January 11, 2024, regarding complaints related to specific motor finance discretionary commission arrangements (DCA), we are adjusting our complaint handling process.
If your complaint falls under this category, please note that our response timeframe will be temporarily extended. The FCA has temporarily suspended the previous timeframes for all responses from 8 weeks to 37 weeks, meaning we aim to resume responses by September 25, 2024. For comprehensive information about this temporary change and how it affects the complaint process, please visit the FCA's dedicated page at https://www.fca.org.uk/carfinance.
Once we are able to address your complaint, our final communication will include details about your right to escalate the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service within an extended 15-month period if needed.
Definition of a Complaint: An expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about Furrows’ action or lack of action, or, about the standard of service provided by or on behalf of the Furrows.
Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to all employees of Furrows should a complaint be received, in order to support the Company’s aim to provide a high-quality service, fairly, efficiently, and in line with its values of responsibility, trust, and respect. All customer-facing employees must be provided with a copy of the Complaints Handling Policy.
The Rules – as laid down by the FCA:
1. You must have in place and operate an appropriate and effective internal complaints handling procedure, which must be written down, to deal with any expression of dissatisfaction, whether oral or written, justified or not.
2. You must be able to refer complainants in writing to the availability of your internal complaints handling procedure at or immediately after the point of sale, and be able to supply a copy of the procedure on request to any eligible complainant. You may also display the fact that it is covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service, provided this is done in a non-misleading way.
3. You must make provisions for complaints to be investigated by an employee with sufficient competence who, where appropriate, was not directly involved in the complaint. The person must have the authority to respond to the complaint, or have direct access to someone who does. Responses to complaints must adequately address the complaint and if the complaint is upheld, provide appropriate redress.
4. Where it is agreed that redress is appropriate, you must provide the complainant with fair compensation for any acts or omission. (Appropriate redress does not always have to be financial, it may simply be an apology).
5. You must ensure that all your relevant employees are aware of the complaint procedure, and act in accordance with it. Management controls also need to be in place to ensure complaints are being dealt with fairly, consistently and promptly.
6. When a complaint is received on any day other than a business day, or after close of business on a business day, the complaint can be treated as received on the next business day.
7. You must send acknowledgement of the complaint and state the name and job title of the individual handling the complaint within 5 working days of receipt.
8. You must state how you would deal with a complaint should the complainant remain dissatisfied.
9. You must, within 4 weeks of receiving a complaint, send the complainant either; a final response, a holding response explaining why you are not yet in a position to resolve the complaint and state when you will respond (this must be within 8 weeks of receiving the complaint). 2
10. At the 8 week stage, you must send a final response or explain why you are still not in a position to give a response and the reason for the delay, and inform the complainant that they may refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), with an enclosed FOS explanatory leaflet. (Copies of this leaflet may be reproduced under licence or can be obtained from the FOS).
11. Your final response must inform the complainant that he may refer his complaint to the FOS if still dissatisfied, which must be done within a period of 6 months. 12. You must make and retain records of your complaints for a minimum of 3 years.
13. You must provide the FCA with a report twice a year which contains the total number of complaints broken down in accordance with their categories. The total number of complaints close within 4 weeks or less, 4 – 8 weeks, or more than 8 weeks, and also the total amount of complaints outstanding. Reports are to be submitted to the FCA within 1 month of the end of the relevant reporting period, which are from 1 April to 30 September and from 1 October to 31 March.
Above all, customers expect services and products that meet their needs and Furrows strive to show consistently that fair treatment of customers is at the heart of our business.
Conduct Risk is defined by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as “the risk that firms’ behaviours may result in poor outcomes for the consumer”. It takes forward the principles of ‘Treating Customers Fairly’ (TCF), as well as the six expected TCF outcomes, as below.
➢ Outcome 1: Consumers can be confident they are dealing with firms where the fair treatment of customers is central to the corporate culture. The decisions Furrows make need to reflect the customers’ needs.
➢ Outcome 2: Products and services marketed and sold in the retail market are designed to meet the needs of identified consumer groups and are targeted accordingly. Furrows will ensure that we have looked at the customer and we are not selling them something inappropriate, this includes the marketing material we send out.
➢ Outcome 3: Consumers are provided with clear information and are kept appropriately informed before, during and after the point of sale. Furrows will keep in touch with their customers and keep them informed of what is happening at each appropriate stage.
➢ Outcome 4: Where consumers receive advice, the advice is suitable and takes account of their circumstances. Furrows do not claim to give advice but any recommendations we give can be seen as giving advice. Should a customer state they want a specific product but upon speaking to them we find another product may be more suitable, from an FCA perspective this would be classed as advice. That is not to say we should not be doing it but we should ensure that we have taken into consideration all of the customer’s circumstances.
➢ Outcome 5: Consumers are provided with products that perform as firms have led them to expect, and the associated service is of an acceptable standard and as they have been led to expect. Furrows will ensure that the customer is aware of all the facts as a failure to mention a specific feature of any deal could result in the risk of non-adherence to this Outcome.
➢ Outcome 6: Consumers do not face unreasonable post-sale barriers imposed by firms to change
product, switch provider, submit a claim or make a complaint.
In the event that a customer is unhappy with any element of Furrows’ service or product, we will get
involved and assist them as much as possible. Complaints should be reported immediately so that we
may respond in line with the Company Complaints Policy (above)