Bodies providing assistance
Having problems with a service provider?
In situations where a problem arises, you should always first try to reach a suitable solution by discussing with the service provider. This is normally the quickest and easiest way to solve the problem.
You can also give the service provider written customer feedback. In such a case, the matter is handled according to the enterprise’s customer feedback system practices and you should get a written response. In banking and insurance matters you can also turn to the enterprise’s regional or head office.
Financial Ombudsman Bureau (FINE)
If your contact with the service provider does not yield the desired result, it is advisable to turn to the Financial Ombudsman Bureau (FINE). The Bureau provides information and advice to banking, insurance and investment service customers and handles disputes on behalf of the customer with the insurance company, bank or investment firm concerned, as necessary.
Appealing public recommendations and court decisions
When handling disputes between the customer and the service provider, usually the only body with the powers to impose a legally binding solution on both parties is a court of law. However, court proceedings are time consuming and the cost can turn out to be substantial.
In most cases, before submitting a dispute to a court of law, the matter can be handled by an independent body such as the relevant board, which issues a recommended decision on the matter. Such bodies are for example the Banking Complaints Board, Insurance Complaints Board, Securities Complaints Board and the Consumer Disputes Board.
In some cases, for instance in insurance matters, the customer is given a decision that can be appealed. Appeal instructions are appended to the decision.
In problem situations, you can also contact authorities that monitor service providers’ operations. Service providers operating in the financial markets are supervised for instance by the Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA), the Consumer Ombudsman and the Data Protection Ombudsman. Consumer advisers, legal aid offices as well as financial and debt advisers can also provide additional information and help in solving the situation.
FIN-FSA supervises service providers’ code of conduct and the legality of contractual terms. The service provider's code of conduct must comply with the law, international standards and good practice. Customers must be able to rely on service providers complying with sound practices in their marketing, contractual terms and other contacts with customers. Through supervision, FIN-FSA aims to promote customers’ confidence in the functioning of the markets and the service providers operating in these markets.
FIN-FSA conduct of business supervision includes both ex ante and ex post supervision. Ex ante supervision covers for instance the approval of investment fund rules. Ex post supervision includes the monitoring of service providers’ marketing and advertising as well as inspections on selected topics.
With regard to consumer customers, the Consumer Ombudsman has parallel powers with FIN-FSA.
24 October 2011