‘We hear you,’ financial service watchdog assures public
The office of the ombud for financial service providers (Fais ombud) is determined to let the public know it hears their complaints against financial services providers.
After what it deems a very successful roadshow in Durban, the ombud is now taking its “we hear you”-themed roadshow to the Rand Show in Johannesburg.
Fais ombud Naresh Tulsie told Money his office interacted with almost 250 prospective complainants during the event in Durban, of which just over 30 were able to complete complaint registration forms at their stand. Other complainants opted to submit complaints online and other communication channels available, he says.
Tulsie says it became clear that consumers were not always aware of the existence of the ombudsman or that the service his office provides is free.
He believes it is vital to engage all concerned to help both consumers and financial services providers understand their respective rights and responsibilities. “Our aim is to reduce the level of complaints and improve confidence in the financial services industry through education.”
Tulsie says access to justice is core to this office, which requires that they be accessible to consumers from all walks of life, “especially those from disadvantaged communities who are most in need of our services”.
The office recently introduced a dedicated client-care centre to assist, among others, those consumers that are unable to submit a complaint electronically or in writing by accepting the complaint telephonically.
Tulsie says the consumer education roadshows give the public a chance to engage with him and his staff face to face, and if required, receive assistance with any financial service-related complaints.
“If we agree with the basis of your complaint, we can intervene to resolve your dispute with your financial adviser, insurer, investment house or bank,” he says.
The Fais ombud will be at the Rand Show daily from 10am to 7pm from April 19-28.
If you believe you’ve suffered financial prejudice because of a service having been rendered negligently, or you feel you have been misled or treated unfairly, you can complain to the Fais ombud via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 012-762-5000 or 012-470-9080, fax: 012-348-3447 or 012-470-9097, or online: www.faisombud.co.za.