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FCA asked to review policy on bank fraud redress

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The Complaints Commissioner has suggested the FCA review how it deals with complaints where banks do not refund account holders after fraudulent transactions.

But the adjudicator has backed the way the regulator handled enquiries from a couple who had been the victims of fraud.

A couple complained to their bank, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the FCA after criminals transferred £2,000 out of their account.

The bank refused to refund the money, and the FOS upheld this decision.

The couple argued to the FCA the bank had not upheld the regulator’s rules on unauthorised payments, and that the regulator had a general responsibility for the failure of banks to combat the kind of fraud they suffered.

In particular, the couple were frustrated that the FCA did not provide them with updates on how it was using the information it provided to them.

The regulator put this down to confidentiality restrictions that, by law, it has to abide by.

A Complaints Commissioner ruling released today finds that the FCA handled the complaint correctly and had given accurate advice about whether or not the bank should reimburse the couple.

However, the Complaints Commissioner said that the FCA should look at how it and banks respond to similar instances of fraud in future.

The decision reads: “You have been the victim of criminal activity, and you have faced considerable difficulty obtaining the information which you needed to report the matter to the police. However, that was not the fault of the FCA.

“There is a broader question which you raise about how the banks respond to fraud of this nature, and what they should do about “mule” accounts of the kind which appears to have been used in your case.

“I am suggesting that the FCA consider whether, in the light of your complaint (and any others of which they are aware) any adjustments to the current policy might be desirable.

“I suggest that the FCA and the banks look at this as a policy issue, if they are not already doing so, including whether any adjustments might be needed to the policy on unauthorised payments, but that goes beyond the scope of this complaints scheme.”

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