The aim of this procedure is to ensure that any complaint about a breach of the DEMSA Code of Conduct by a DEMSA member is investigated fairly, promptly and efficiently. DEMSA is committed to reaching an equitable solution and prompt redress to any complaint.
If a borrower or creditor wishes to make a complaint about a member, they should in the first instance address their complaint directly to the member concerned. All members of DEMSA must have a written procedure that is readily available to all their clients and to anyone wishing to make a complaint.
Members of DEMSA are obliged to inform all clients of their membership of DEMSA and the existence of the DEMSA Code of Conduct prior to arranging a payment programme.
In the event that the complainant is not satisfied with the member‚Äôs response they should then inform DEMSA. Whilst DEMSA will be happy to discuss general matters on the telephone with consumers any complaint must be made in writing, either by post or electronically.
Whilst DEMSA is only able to rule on complaints about breaches of the Code of Conduct by members it will investigate complaints on other matters and, where appropriate with the member or direct the complaint accordingly.
DEMSA is committed to providing a fair, and independent, procedure for the dealing of all complaints and to this end mention is made below, in the actual procedures of the “Code Administrator” and the “Financial Ombudsman Service”, which are as follows:
The Code Administrator is appointed by the Board of DEMSA and is responsible for the supervision and administration of the Code
Financial Ombudsman Service
All DEMSA members hold a valid Consumer Credit Licence and ,as such, their clients are eligible to refer unsatisfied complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
- On receipt of a complaint the Code Administrator will consider whether it relates to a breach of the Code.
- If a complaint is considered not to relate to a breach of the Code the complainant will be notified in writing. Notwithstanding that it may not be Code ‚Äì related the Code Administrator may decide to investigate the matter or to recommend that the complainant take up the matter with another appropriate body.
- At this stage the member will be contacted and asked to provide a report to DEMSA, giving full details of the alleged breach and how it has been or will be investigated.
- On receipt of the completed report from the member the Code Administrator will review the matter comprehensively. He will come to a decision on the matter and will communicate this decision to all parties. In the event of any material breach of the Code the Administrator will, at that time, take any necessary action as outlined in the ‚ÄúCompliance and Disciplinary Procedures‚Äù, and will convene the Independent Discipline Panel
- The decision is binding on the member
- The decision of the Code Administrator, when communicated to the complainant will make it clear on what grounds the decision has been reached, what further action may be taken, and will set out the procedure to be taken, and the timescale, should the complainant not accept the decision.
- If the complainant, after considering the decision, is not prepared to accept the decision they may refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
- The decision of the Financial Ombudsman is binding on all parties and the procedures will only be commenced on this basis. Upon receipt of the decision of the Ombudsman both parties will be advised accordingly and the Code Administrator may, if appropriate, take any necessary action in respect of any compliance or disciplinary issues.
- All costs relating to the Complaints Handling and Independent Redress Procedures, or case fee charged by the Financial Ombudsman Service will be borne by the member.
Timetable for Complaints Handling and Independent Redress Procedures
- The Code Administrator will within 5 working days acknowledge receipt of the complaint
- The Code Administrator will report details of the complaint to the member concerned and request a report from them within 10 working days.
- The member will respond within 10 working days of receipt of the request from the Code Administrator.
- The Code Administrator will issue his written findings within 25 working days. The complainant will be made aware of his right to access the Financial Ombudsman Service should he not accept the findings.
- If the complainant does not accept the findings of the Code Administrator they have the right to invoke the Financial Ombudsman Service. DEMSA will ensure that a final response letter is issued, together with the reasons for rejection of the complaint
- Financial Ombudsman Service procedures will follow the its‚Äô laid down timescale.
- Whilst DEMSA does not impose any time limitation for the acceptance of complaints against DEMSA members it is in the interests of all parties to ensure that they are lodged, and dealt with, in a timely manner. In the event of a referral to the Financial Ombudsman Service, this has to be made within 6 months of the issue of a final response letter.