DRF Complaints Committee is in place in the best interest of debtors who cannot resolve complaints with their debt management companies.
The Debt Resolution Forum Complaints Committee, chaired by David Hawkes from Advice UK, decided its first case this week.
The DRF’s Complaints Committee comprises:
• David Hawkes: National Money Advice Co-ordinator, Advice UK
• Philip King: Chief Executive, Institute of Credit Management
• Keith Pond: Senior Lecturer in Banking & Economics, The Business School, Loughborough University.
The complaint, first made to the DRF member company in February 2010, has now concluded, confirming the member company acted responsibly and ethically and dismissing the claim of mis-selling.
The main improvement suggested by the committee, which may be useful for other members, was that the firm needs a procedure to ensure an IVA has ended before putting a DMP in place. Additionally, the firm has been asked why its internal monitoring system did not pick up a particular product knowledge issue for a specific staff member and to provide, within three months, an action plan to show how these requirements will be met.
The comprehensive and accurate nature of the firm’s systems and records was remarked upon and clearly contributed to the dismissal of the complaint.
David Mond, Chairman of the DRF comments,
“All too often, companies train staff on the legalities of debt solutions, but if they’re not in a continual training programme, it is easy for an individual’s standards to slip and bad habits form when dealing with consumers, no matter how unintentional. It’s important to get this right – but not surprising that, occasionally, something may slip through the system. We are proud to have introduced the industry’s first academically accredited qualification, the Certificate in Debt Resolution (CertDR) – the Committee’s decision on this case will accelerate our plan to introduce continuing development courses too.”
The DRF Complaints Committee are committed to doing a job that will be respected by the public – and will continue to advise on how improvements can be made by member companies such as the importance of keeping accurate and timely records of calls and client correspondence.
Member companies will not be publicly named if the cases against them and the connected claims are dropped. However, the DRF confirm where the committee recommends measures to improve standards, recommendations to members will be made. If a complaint is upheld and the DRF member complies (they will be given time to do so) with the decision (which may include redress to the consumer and requirements for a change in the DRF member’s procedures) then, there will be no publicity. The DRF will publish members’ names if a complaint is upheld and they fail to comply. Members that consistently have complaints upheld and/or fail to comply with decisions will be prioritised for Insolvency Practitioners Association monitoring visits.
The DRF Complaints Committee offers consumers a clear opportunity to seek explanations and investigations into any activity they feel has been unfair or improper by member companies. This move has been welcomed by the industry, recognising that DRF members are willing to take accountability for any case where there is a belief they may not have met the agreed standards and ethics required.
The DRF website will shortly publish a dedicated page for consumers to register complaints against member companies with the knowledge and comfort that such complaints will be taken seriously and investigated with vigour.
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Notes to Editors:
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