CHO Meet With FOS

A delegation of CHO Members met representatives of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) in Canary Wharf on 5 October. The meeting sought to clarify some remarks made by the FOS in a press release issued in July this year. The press release warned consumers about the risks of credit hire (with no mention of any benefits).

You can view the actual article here.

In the release FOS suggested they were ‘working with the industry to improve referrals, making them fair, balanced and transparent,’ but we were concerned that the CHC perspective may not have been included. We wanted to make sure there was a balance to their understanding of the position.

The CHO used the meeting to explain the credit hire industry to FOS, which was welcomed; it was clear that neither FOS director Rachel Lam nor the CEO, Abbie Thomas had detailed knowledge of issues, such as triaging and the information we provide to customers after referrals – other than what insurers had told them.

They explained that they had seen an increase in complaints – which they had upheld and agreed to share these findings with us. The cases they cited in support of the press release were in a couple of cases, several years old, which is possibly to be expected as FOS would only get involved at the end of the case/process. Those cases do make interesting reading and links are below;

Hastings decision



FOS acknowledge that they do not regulate the CHC sector (although they could in future if MoJ were to intervene – a scenario I think we at CHO would prefer to avoid) but clearly many of our referral partners are regulated and so inside the FOS jurisdiction. The theme from the cases above is very clear – treat customers fairly and be very clear at all points in the referral and on-boarding processes. The new mantra of Consumer Duty does of course add even more weight to this!

We welcomed the opportunity to engage with FOS and agreed to maintain a dialogue, planning to meet again in around 3 m.

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