Many a time frustrated consumers don’t know which way to go when it comes to their financial related complaints and often giving up and abandoning their quest to seek help. The Financial Complaints Helpline has successfully handled close to 10 000 calls since its inception at the beginning of 2011.
‘As organisations under the Financial Services Ombud Scheme Act (FSOS), we realised that some consumers don’t always know where to direct their complaints and as a result of frustration, give up on pursuing their matters. It is for this reason that this helpline was setup,’ says Credit Ombud, Manie van Schalkwyk.
The Financial Complaints Helpline (0860 66 28 37) serves as a central helpline and refers consumers to the Credit Ombud, Banking Ombud, Pension Funds Adjudicator as well as the Short Term and Long Term Ombuds. These offices assist consumers who have complaints relating to the following:
- Credit Ombudsman: assists with complaints relating to credit bureaus, credit providers and debt counselling
- Ombudsman for Banking Services: problems with products or services provided by a bank
- Pension Funds Adjudicator: investigates and determines complaints of abuse of power, mismanagement and employer carelessness in respect of pension funds
- Ombudsman for Short Term Insurance: assists consumers with short-term insurance claims relating to motor, household, cellphone, travel and disability insurance
- Ombudsman for Long Term Insurance: assists with claims relating to funeral policies, retirement and investment funds, life insurances, disability and dreaded disease covers
All of the FSOS institutions offer consumers free assistance with their matters.
The call centre has received a total of 9 892 calls since inception. Of these, 45% were successfully transferred to the relevant Ombud. Calls that were not transferred immediately were as a result of the callers calling on behalf of someone else or callers requesting information about matters not relating to organisations that the helpline refers to.
‘At times we handle calls that are completely not related to the institutions we refer to, but even in these instances, we try by all means to direct consumers to the relevant point of assistance where possible,’ says Ruth Steyn, Senior Operations Manager at the call centre.
The call centre boosts an impressive service level record, with 95% of incoming calls answered within 20 seconds and has a call abandonment rate of 4%, which is 1% lower than accepted global benchmarking standards.
If consumers want to complaint to a financial ombudsman and is not sure who to contact, they can call the Financial Services Helpline by dialling 0860 66 2837.