Many customers will remember with some sorrow the manner in which the bank charges fiasco turned into an ultimately unfortunate defeat for many consumers. The banks halted the stem of complaints by lodging a test case against the Office of Fair Trading and the FSA at the time issued a waiver to allow all bank charges complaints to be kept on hold.
In 2010 following countless assessments and investigations, the FSA issued guidance on the manner in which PPI (payment protection insurance) misselling claims should be investigated. Banks were subject to intense guidance and practice directions this year.
However, in a predictable move the banks issued High Court proceedings against the FSA on the guidance they were being asked to follow. Lloyds TSB started the ball rolling and many banks soon followed in stating that PPI claims would not be investigated until the High Court review is completed. It is expected to be concluded around February 2011.
The FSA is not impressed and thankfully did not issue a waiver for banks to hold off claims. This is a significant move and shows that the FSA will not take matters lightly. It has also guided consumers to refer claims to the Financial Ombudsman Service if a bank issues a ‘hold’ letter indicating it wants to wait for the review to be completed. In essence, the FSA is standing firm and willing to enforce matters if necessary.
The stance taken by the FSA is a relief for all consumers and it has finally demonstrated its willingness to see its strength right to the end.