We’ve spoken to a range of businesses, trade bodies and consumer groups since the Duty was announced to discuss firms’ preparations and any concerns and challenges they may have.
Part of this work has involved speaking at a range of conferences and events, often alongside the FCA. On 20 June, our Chief Executive, Abby Thomas, will be discussing the Duty and wider issues around consumer protection at a financial sector event organised by City & Financial.
And as complaints come to us, our focus will be on resolving cases, sharing our approach with businesses, and publishing insight on complaint volumes and trends over time.
How we’re preparing for complaints involving the Consumer Duty
The Duty is about firms acting in a way that delivers good outcomes for consumers. We know it will often be an important consideration when deciding whether a financial business acted fairly and reasonably.
It’s underpinned by concepts of fairness and reasonableness, similar to the fair and reasonable standard we judge complaints against already.
The Duty will only apply to things that happen after 31 July 2023, at the earliest. Businesses have a chance to put things right before a consumer can bring a complaint to our service. This means it’s likely to take some time after 31 July for complaints to come to the Financial Ombudsman.
This will be particularly true for longer-term products like the sale of pensions and investments. However, there will be some areas where the Consumer Duty is likely to come into play more quickly – for example, consumers may wish to raise issues about customer service or administration fairly soon after the deadline has passed.
We know the Consumer Duty is a significant consideration for businesses. We’ll continue to speak to firms once the Duty comes into force to understand what early complaints they are receiving and how they are responding.
We’ve previously shared our thoughts on the Consumer Duty. And when we start receiving complaints, we'll share our insight and work with businesses to ensure they understand our approach and can apply it.