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CRED 17.2 Internal complaint handling procedures: general requirements

CRED 17.2.1R

A credit union must establish, maintain and implement appropriate and effective internal complaint handling procedures (which must be written down) for:1

  1. (1)

    handling any expression of dissatisfaction whether oral or written, and whether justified or not, from or on behalf of an eligible complainant about that credit union's provision of, or failure to provide, a financial services activity: and1

  2. (2)

    referring to another firm, A, expressions of dissatisfaction about A's services, if the credit union markets (or has marketed) A's financial services or if the credit union's financial services are marketed by A.1

CRED 17.2.2G

An eligible complainant is a person who would be eligible to refer a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. The term is defined for all firms inDISP 2.72, but guidance for credit unions is provided at CRED 17.3 below.

CRED 17.2.3G

Credit unions are not obliged to restrict their internal complaint handling procedures to expressions of dissatisfaction from eligible complainants. They may, if they wish, also establish procedures for handling complaints from other persons.

CRED 17.2.4G

The internal complaint handling procedures should provide for:

  1. (1)

    receiving complaints;

  2. (2)

    responding to complaints;

  3. (2A)

    referring complaints to other firms;1

  4. (3)

    the appropriate investigation of complaints; and1

  5. (4)

    notifying complainants of their right to go to the Financial Ombudsman Service, where relevant.

CRED 17.2.5G

When deciding what constitutes an appropriate complaint handling procedure, a credit union should have regard to:

  1. (1)

    the type of business it undertakes;

  2. (2)

    its size and organisational structure;

  3. (3)

    the nature and complexity of the complaints it is likely to receive; and

  4. (4)

    the number of complaints it is likely to receive and have to investigate.

CRED 17.2.6G
  1. (1)

    A credit union is not prevented from using a third party administrator (for example, an outside organisation) for the purposes of handling complaints.1

  2. (2)

    It is acceptable for two or more credit unions to set up arrangements, such as a one-stop shop for complaints handling under a service level agreement, provided that this still secures for complainants an equivalent standard of service and, if appropriate, redress. Any such arrangements should be made clear to an eligible complainant.1

CRED 17.2.7G

In establishing their internal complaint handling procedures, credit unions may wish to take account of British Standard 8600:1999 - Complaints Management Systems - Guide to Design and Implementation. This is available on request from the FSA.

CRED 17.2.8R

A credit union must:

  1. (1)

    refer in writing to the availability of its internal complaint handling procedures when, or as soon as possible after, a person is admitted as a member or juvenile depositor;

  2. (2)

    publish details of its internal complaint handling procedures, supply a copy on request and supply a copy automatically to the complainant when it receives a complaint (unless the complaint is resolved by close of business on the next business day); and

  3. (3)

    display at its registered office a notice that it is covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service.

CRED 17.2.9G

In order to comply with CRED 17.2.1 R, a credit union may include reference to its complaint handling procedures in documentation supplied to members, for example its membership pack or the first piece of correspondence sent to a member or juvenile depositor after he joins the credit union.

CRED 17.2.10G

A credit union may also, if it wishes to do so, disclose the fact that it is covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service by including the Financial Ombudsman Service logo in any marketing literature or correspondence directed at members or juvenile depositors, provided that it does so in a way which is not misleading.

CRED 17.2.11R

A credit union's internal complaint handling procedures must make provision for:

  1. (1)

    complaints to be investigated by a suitable person (officer, director or member of staff of the credit union) who, where appropriate, was not directly involved in the matter which is the subject of the complaint;

  2. (2)

    the person charged with responding to complaints to have the authority to settle complaints (including the offering of redress where appropriate) or to have ready access to someone who has the necessary authority; and

  3. (3)

    responses to complaints to address adequately the subject matter of the complaint and, where a complaint is upheld, to offer appropriate redress.

CRED 17.2.12R

Where a credit union decides that redress is appropriate, it must provide a complainant with fair compensation for any acts or omissions for which it was responsible and comply with any offer of redress which the complainant accepts.

CRED 17.2.13R

A credit union must take all reasonable steps to ensure that all relevant persons (whether officers, directors or volunteers) are aware of the credit union's internal complaint handling procedures and must endeavour to ensure that they act in accordance with them.

CRED 17.2.14R

A credit union must put in place appropriate management controls and take reasonable steps to ensure that it handles complaints fairly, consistently and promptly, and that it identifies and remedies any recurring or systemic problems, as well as any specific problem identified by a complaint.

CRED 17.2.15G

The internal complaint handling procedures should enable complainants to make a complaint by any reasonable means (for example by letter, telephone, or in person).

CRED 17.2.16G

A credit union's correspondence and literature relating to complaints should be in clear and plain language.

CRED 17.2.17G

The FSAwill take account of the size and nature of the credit union in applying the requirements.

CRED 17.2.18G

In deciding whether or not to accept a complaint and what would be appropriate redress, credit unions may wish to consider any relevant guidance published by the FSA or the Financial Ombudsman Service.

CRED 17.2.19G

Appropriate redress will not always involve financial redress. It may, for example, simply involve an apology. Where financial redress is deemed appropriate, it may include a reasonable rate of interest.