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‘Disp rule changes have brought a mess’

The FSA’s Disp rule reforms make it harder for firms to handle complaints properly and easier for unscrupulous firms to avoid responsibility, says compliance consultant Adam Samuel.

Samuel says the regulator’s rewrite of Disp under Newcob, which amends the complaint-handling rules to remove certain prescriptive requirements, has created a “complicated mess”.

He believes the new regime fails to indicate the scope of the complaint process and fully answer questions, such as who can complain, who can be complained against and what can be complained about.

Samuel also criticises a new rule which exempts any case covered by the free-standing AVC review from Disp.

He says consumers who received a mailing under the review were not told that, by failing to respond ,they were giving up their right to bring a subsequent claim. He says a similar arrangement for mortgage endowments was torn apart by the Treasury select committee and subsequently changed by the FSA.

Samuel says: “The FSA has made a mess of its first opportunity to reform the complaint rules. It needs to sit down urgently with people who understand the complaint rules and redraft its second-rate proposals before it is too late.”

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