The FCA is concerned that customers are being charged high rates to contact financial services firms and will consult with industry, consumer organisations and consumers to ensure customer calls are more affordable.
According to FCA boss Martin Wheatley:
“We want to update our rules so that they best meet your needs as a customer. This means charges for both consumer helplines and complaint lines being capped at the cost of a basic rate call – so the same price as calling your neighbour or a family member on their landline”.
FCA will issue a consultation but wants firms to look at their practices in advance of this.
The FCA’s consultation will propose the standardisation of the rules so that charges for consumer help, and complaint, lines are capped at the cost of a basic rate call. In a letter to consumer group, Which?, the FCA said it believed that the introduction of requirements in the Consumer Rights Directive, designed to ensure firms no longer charge a premium for calls, should apply to all financial services firms. The Directive requires firms to offer basic rate numbers for enquiries but at present, this does not apply to financial services firms.
In the same consultation the FCA will also look at a number of proposals to improve complaints handling by financial services firms including looking at complaints reporting and responding to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards. The consultation will be published later this year.
Read more from FCA here.