We have seen increasing numbers of clients receiving enquiries from businesses set up to deal with insurance, principally PPI (Payment Protection Insurance).
There is no point in shelving the enquiry and hoping it will go away. The first thing to do is to investigate the complaint and recover all the documentation relating to the finance arrangements. This begs a further question since are you confident you have maintained all documentation? It pays dividends at these times to not only have the standard ‘duty of care’, ‘demands and needs’ paperwork, but also copies of the advisory policy summaries issued by the finance companies.
If the consumer is not happy with the response they can proceed on to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman (FO) who will arrange for an adjudicator to deal with it. Even if further consideration needs to be given to understand whether the FO can deal with it, a case fee becomes chargeable. Currently a case fee is not chargeable for the first three cases but then a fee of £500 is charged.
The FO’s office may then request further information and will need a conclusion based on ‘the balance of probability’.
If the dispute still cannot be agreed then an ombudsman independently reviews the case.
A final decision, if the consumer accepts it, is binding. The ombudsman can direct the business pays amounts for financial loss and/or pain and suffering, damage to reputation and distress and inconvenience. The maximum award is £100,000.