The new waiver has been granted to those firms who signed up to the January 2009 waiver. These firms represent approximately 98 per cent of the market.
The FSA says the new waiver has been offered to firms because, although considerable progress had been made in the test case, it is not yet clear how firms should be responding to complaints about unauthorised overdraft charges so that customers are treated consistently and fairly.
Whilst the waiver is in place, signatories will not be required to handle complaints relating to unauthorised overdraft charges within the time limits set out in the FSA’s Dispute Resolution manual.
The FSA says it will continue monitoring firms’ compliance with the conditions of the waiver. In particular, monitoring will seek to ensure that firms have appropriate systems and procedures in place to identify customers who are in financial difficulty, and that those customers are treated sympathetically and positively.
The waiver could be revoked at any time if the FSA considers it no longer appropriate, for example, if it does not provide adequate consumer protection, or material progress is not being made in the test case, or a firm fails to comply with the conditions set out in the waiver.
FSA director of retail policy and conduct risk Dan Waters says: “Although the test case is progressing well, we still do not have certainty on this complex issue. The FSA has reviewed the prevailing circumstances and decided to offer firms a new waiver for up to six months.
“Our objective continues to be facilitating a fair and consistent resolution of consumer complaints about unauthorised overdraft charges.”