Complaints get NatWest and RBS slapped with fines
Ah banks! You really, really spoil us. No. Seriously. We're sullied and weary because, at every single turn, one of you is pissing us off royally and, in the case of Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest, we can't even complain to you about it.
And the FSA agree with the collective 'us' as they've been ordered to cough-up £2.8m for being hopeless when responding to complaints. The fine would have been bigger, standing at £4m if the banks hadn't agreed to settle earlier.
The Telegraph report that FSA's investigation found that there was an "unacceptably high risk that customers may not have been treated fairly due to a number of failings within the banks' approach to routine complaint handling".
This includes delays in responding to customers and "poor quality" investigations into complaints, with complaint handlers seemingly not bothering to get all the appropriate information when making their decision based on our gripes.
All this isn't helped by the fact that the FSA have judged that RBS/NatWest failed to fully address all concerns raised by customers and didn't explain why complaints had been upheld or rejected. And to cap it off, the banks haven't been telling their customers that they were able to refer complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
This doesn't mean you should give the staff you deal with a hard time because the FSA found that this pair of companies haven't given the staff given the task of handling complaints enough training. All-in-all, its all a rather sorry state of affairs.
Margaret Cole, the FSA's managing director of enforcement and financial crime, said: "We expect firms to treat customers fairly and that consumers can be confident that their complaints will be dealt with properly. The failure of these two high street banks to deal adequately with complaints put consumers at unacceptable risk and the fine of £2.8m reflects this.
"The poor complaints procedure of RBS and NatWest came to light during our review of complaint handling in major banks. The review showed that banks need to make major changes to handle consumer complaints fairly and the FSA will continue to take appropriate action to ensure these changes are put in place."
Even though we own these banks, it really doesn't seem like they want to treat us very fairly, unsurprisingly.