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ombudsman news

issue 54

July 2006

ask ombudsman news

to print, or not to print ..-

It's good to see from my latest copy of ombudsman news that you've started giving the environmental credentials of the paper you print on. But it occurs to me that it would be even more environmentally-friendly not to print hard copies at all - and just have an online version.

an independent financial adviser

This is something we keep under constant review. However, by no means all our readers have easy or regular access to the internet. In particular, many in the consumer advice sector tell us that it’s not always practical – or possible – for them to access a web version. They far prefer the print versions of our publications, which they can circulate to colleagues and volunteers, and then retain for future reference.

Within the financial services industry itself, a number of training and compliance staff tell us they find the online version very useful for quick reference – but much prefer the print version for more detailed reading – and to circulate within their firms.

This preference seems to reflect general feedback from our readers. Many say they use the web archive of back copies for specific research purposes, but find it especially helpful to have a hard copy version. They say they find it easier on the eyes than staring at a screen for long. And many of them tell us they like to browse through the latest issue when they are on the way home by train or bus, or when they are away from their desk during their lunch break.

consumer credit complaints

Could you let us know how the ombudsman fits into the government's new plans for consumer credit- Who can answer any general questions at this stage about the proposed new complaints arrangements-

the manager of a consumer advice centre

Following an extensive review of the 30-year-old consumer credit law by the Department of Trade and Industry, new legislation – the Consumer Credit Act 2006 – was passed in March 2006. This updates the framework under which consumer credit activities are carried out and regulated in the UK.

The new legislation includes requirements on businesses with consumer credit licences (issued by the Office of Fair Trading) to have formal complaints-handling procedures. And for the first time these businesses will also be covered on a statutory basis by the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Businesses with consumer credit licences who are also regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) – such as banks and building societies – already come under the ombudsman service for most of their consumer credit activities.

We will start to handle consumer credit complaints about businesses with consumer credit licences from 6 April 2007. We are already working with trade bodies in the consumer credit sector and taking part in key conferences and exhibitions. Later in the year, we will also be hosting special workshops and events around the country for businesses with consumer credit licences.

As part of the consultation document we published in June 2006 we included answers to some anticipated queries. This might be a good starting point for any questions you may have. You can also contact our technical advice desk with any questions on 020 7964 1400. This is a free service for firms and consumer advisers.

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ombudsman news issue 54 [PDF format]

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.