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Complaints Commissioner hammers FSA for ‘wholly inadequate’ record-keeping

The Complaints Commissioner has told the FSA to improve its call records after the regulator could not trace a call in which a customer phoned to check if a firm was reputable and subsequently lost £20,000.

In a letter to a complainant from the Complaints Commissioner published by the FSA last week, the commissioner criticises the FSA for its “wholly inadequate” record-keeping and says it needs to review its procedures for retrieving calls.

The letter reveals a customer filed a complaint against the FSA after a money transfer went wrong last August.

The customer chose a money transfer firm to convert and transfer money to any overseas bank and then phoned the regulator to establish if the firm was reputable.
The customer went ahead with the transaction but before it was completed, the firm went into administration and the customer lost £20,000.

The commissioner did not uphold the complaint as he judged the information given by the FSA, that the firm was registered, was correct and the FSA cannot provide information about whether a firm is solvent. As the transaction fell outside the FSA’s remit, it was unable to comment on any risk involved in dealing with the company.

Following the original complaint, the FSA was unable to find the recording of the five-minute call, only a short note confirming the nature of it.

In the letter, Complaints Commissioner Sir Anthony Holland said: “It is unclear why when the complaints team asked for details of the call on numerous occasions, it was not possible to retrieve these notes. This is clearly an unacceptable situation. The notes of the call taken by the consumer contact centre were wholly inadequate. This is unacceptable and the FSA should take steps to improve its record-keeping.”

Holland also called for the FSA’s contact centre to set out clearly to customers how their money is protected and the situations where their money is at risk.

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