Which! and others to become super-complainers?
We love Which! They are our consumer championing buddies, but it is fair to say they complain a lot. An awful lot. Now the Government is potentially going to recognise their whingey behaviour with new designated super-complainant status.
This is actually better than it sounds. Under the Financial Services Act 2012, ‘super-complaints’ consumer bodies designated as such will be able to make faster and more direct complaints about financial services direct to the new regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Super-complainants will be given the power to present complaints to the regulator if they believe there are features of a financial services market, that are, or could be significantly damaging the interests of individual consumers or businesses. Once a super-complaint is made, the FCA must respond within 90 days.
Previously, such complaints could only be made to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which was always a bit of a soggy paper bag. The FCA has already flexed its more powerful, um, powers and could use these super powers in the fight against super-complaints.
However, Which! have not been specially chosen; the Government invited applications for super complainant status earlier in the year and received the following applications:
A 12 week consultation period opened yesterday for interested parties to comment on the super complainant applications, after which time a decision on the official super-complainants will be made. There is no current limit on how may super-complainants may be designated.
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Greg Clark said:
“By giving certain consumer and business groups the ability to make ‘super-complaints’ to the new regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, we can all help to tackle bad practice more rapidly and robustly than before.”
"It's a shame consumer website Bitterwallet did not apply," he added* "as we could do with some wit and levity around here."
*may not actually be true