Having problems with a service provider?
In situations where a problem arises, you should always first try to reach a suitable solution by discussing the issue 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 cases, the issue will be handled according to the service provider’s customer feedback system procedures and you should receive a written response. You can also turn to the service provider’s regional or head office.
Advice – 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). FINE provides information and advice to banking, insurance and investment service customers and handles disputes, as necessary, on behalf of customers with the insurance company, bank or investment firm concerned. The advice services are free of charge for customers.
Appealing public recommendations and court decisions
In disputes between customers and service providers, 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 costs can be substantial.
In most cases, before a dispute is submitted to a court of law, the issue may be handled by an independent body such as the relevant board, which issues a recommended decision on the matter. Bodies that issue recommended decisions include, for example, FINE (the Financial Ombudsman Bureau as well as the Banking Complaints Board, Insurance Complaints Board, Securities Complaints Board, which operate in conjunction with it) and the Consumer Disputes Board.
In some cases, for example when an insurance company refuses to pay insurance compensation, the company will give the customer 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 by, for example, 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. A service provider's code of conduct must comply with the law, international standards and good practice. FIN-FSA’s business supervision includes both ex-ante and ex-post supervision. Ex-ante supervision covers, for example, 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. Through supervision, FIN-FSA aims to promote customers’ confidence in the functioning of the markets and in the service providers operating in these markets.
The legality of codes of conduct with respect to consumer protection is also supervised by the Consumer Ombudsman.