In a win for our Costly Calls campaign, the FCA has asked financial firms to offer basic rate phone lines for their customers. Here’s Martin Wheatley of the FCA sharing the announcement with you all.
When something goes wrong, the last thing we need to worry about is how much the call to sort things out will cost us.
Most of us have been there, when we’ve had an issue with our bank account or our savings and have had to call our provider to put things right. That call can often take a lot of time, so alongside Which? and other consumer bodies, we’re working with your banks, insurers, mortgage providers and other firms to ensure that when you need help from a firm – or if you want to make a complaint – the call will be more affordable.
Updating our rules on calls
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.
Currently, every firm we authorise must have a free channel which enables customers to make a complaint. While a number of firms do offer a Freephone number, this channel can often be by post or online instead.
So why the call for change now? The Consumer Rights Directive comes into effect on 13 June this year. This will mean most companies will have to offer basic rate numbers for customer enquiries. Currently, these requirements do not apply to financial services firms. However, today we are calling for financial firms to play their part by offering basic rate phone lines to consumers.
We also heard the calls of the more than 88,000 people who supported Which?’s Costly Calls campaign.
We’re consulting to get it right
To make this change to our rules, we need to consult with all interested parties – that includes hearing from you. Announcements like this show we are listening, so thank you for your views to date. We will continue to listen to ensure you get the service you expect, especially for those moments when things go wrong.
We will publish the result of our consultation later in the year, and in the meantime, we look forward to reading your comments.
Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – all opinions expressed here are Martin’s own, not necessarily those of Which?.