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Handling complaints during the COVID-19 emergency

17 May 2020

The FCA is aware that, as a result of the current health emergency, many firms are facing challenges in maintaining normal business processes, including dealing with consumer complaints. ATEB Consulting’s Steve Bailey looks at the regulator’s recent statement in this respect. 

The FCA has issued a statement that clarifies the position on complaint handling in the current circumstances. The full statement can be read here. The key points are summarised below.

Key points
Firms should take all reasonable steps to ensure as much complaint handling as possible continues through staff working from home, where this can be done fairly and effectively.

Firms should prioritise:

  • paying promptly complainants who have been offered redress and accepted that offer;
  • the prompt and fair resolution of complaints from:
    – consumers who are likely to be vulnerable to harm if their complaint is not
    resolved promptly and fairly, and
    – micro-enterprises and small businesses who are likely to face serious
    financial difficulties if their complaint is not resolved promptly and fairly;
  • sending timely holding responses to those complainants, where their complaints cannot be resolved promptly.

If a firm cannot deliver these three priorities effectively, or sufficiently, through home working, then the FCA considers that it could be appropriate for the firm to maintain the minimal physical onsite presence needed to do so, provided that the site is configured for social distancing in line with Government guidelines.

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