principle 2: clarity of scope and powers
Effective approaches to fundamental principles guide: part 3
Clarity of scope and powers is a fundamental principle
which members should aspire to comply with, so far as it is within their control
3.1 The financial ombudsman scheme should publish details of:
• the scope of its jurisdiction;
• its enquiry and case-handling processes;
• its powers;
• the status of its decisions;
• any effect on the complainant’s legal rights of using the ombudsman scheme; and
• what information is (or is not) kept confidential.
that have worked in some countries, though there may possibly be other ways.
3.2 The financial ombudsman scheme publishes details of:
• its postal address, phone number, email address and website address;
• the basis of its authority;
• its decision makers, their method of appointment and term of office; and
• its membership of any national or international network.
3.3 The financial ombudsman scheme publishes details of the scope of its jurisdiction, including:
• the financial businesses that are covered;
• the types of services that are covered;
• whether or not that includes services provided cross-border;
• whether or not the complainant must be a customer;
• whether any businesses can complain and, if they can, what types of business;
• any time limits within which a dispute must be brought to the ombudsman scheme;
• any minimum or maximum value of disputes that the ombudsman scheme can handle; and
• any grounds on which the ombudsman scheme may decline to deal with a dispute that is in its jurisdiction.
3.4 The financial ombudsman scheme publishes details of its enquiry and case-handling processes, including:
• whether the complainant must first complain directly to the financial business;
• any requirements on how financial businesses handle complaints;
• anything else the complainant must do before referring a dispute to the ombudsman scheme;
• whether or not the ombudsman scheme handles enquiries;
• whether or not the ombudsman scheme uses negotiation/conciliation/mediation;
• whether or not the ombudsman scheme actively investigates cases;
• the language(s) in which disputes can be submitted and can be handled; and
• whether or not bringing a dispute to the ombudsman scheme suspends any time limit for taking the dispute to court.
3.5 The financial ombudsman scheme publishes details of its powers, including:
• any power to demand information or documents from either of the parties;
• the basis on which disputes are decided – for example. fairness/equity;
• any maximum limit to the amount of compensation it can recommend/award;
• whether or not compensation is limited to financial loss;
• whether or not compensation can carry interest until the date it is paid;
• whether or not costs can be (and, if so, are likely to be) awarded;
• whether or not the financial business can be required to do anything else to put things right for the complainant; and
• whether or not the financial business can be required to change its processes.
Status of decisions
3.6 The financial ombudsman scheme publishes details of the status of its decisions, including:
• whether or not they are published;
• whether or not they bind the financial business;
• if binding, how they can be enforced;
• if non-binding, the percentage of cases in which they are followed by financial businesses;
• if non-binding and not followed, whether there are consequences (e.g. publicity);
• whether or not they bind the complainant; and
• whether or not there is the possibility of review by, or appeal to, the courts.
3.7 The financial ombudsman scheme publishes details of whether or not:
• the identities of the parties are kept confidential;
• other information about disputes is kept confidential; and
• a party can use information from the investigation/decision in subsequent court/arbitration proceedings.
3.8 These details are made publicly available:
• on the financial ombudsman scheme’s own website; and
• in any other way appropriate in the relevant country.
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