During the financial year the OFO received a total of 9323 new complaints, a reduction of 8.7% from the 10 211 received during the 2017/2018 financial year. However, the OFO finalised 9954 complaints, 6.8% more than the total amount received during the financial year. This is of course as a result of complaints carried over from previous years.
“For the 2018/19 financial reporting period a total amount of R 66 668 302 was awarded to consumers, as compared to R 60 889 786 during the previous financial reporting period. This is reflective of consumers valuing the service provided by the Office who are rewarded by approaching the Office to access justice. For many there is unfortunately very limited alternative means to access justice,” Abel Sithole, Commissioner of the FSCA mentions.
According to Naresh Tulsie, FAIS Ombud, the function of the OFO is twofold and straightforward. It exists to promote consumer protection and to contribute to the integrity of the financial services industry, by resolving complaints in a manner that is impartial, expeditious, economical, accessible and, at all times, equitable. “We do both by looking at matters where a financial services provider and its consumer can’t resolve a problem themselves, we can intervene to resolve the disagreement,” he explains. “Impartial and unbiased, we’ll get to the root of the problem – and try to reach a fair, pragmatic answer that allows both sides to move on. If we are of the view that the financial services provider has acted fairly and carried out its undertakings as contractually agreed to – or there’s been a misunderstanding – we’ll explain how things stand. However, if a consumer has been treated unfairly, or a financial services provider has not acted as required by the terms of the contractual arrangement entered into and/or complied with regulatory requirements, we will use our powers to make sure the financial services provider makes things right.”
Unpacking the figures
- Of the 9323 complaints received during the financial year, a total of 5589 fell within the OFO mandate and this equates to 60% of all complaints received during the financial year.
- There was an increase in the number of complaints settled or resolved in favour of the complainant, which rose from 1392 during 2017/2018 to 1871, an increase of 34%.
- The settlement value increased from R60 889 786 during 2017/2018 to R66 668 302 during the 2018/2019 financial year an increase of 9.5%.
- A total of 3 684 of the 9 323 complaints were dismissed, a total of 2 770 complaints were referred to alternative fora and 1 209 complaints were settled in favour of the complainant, which represents a significant increase over the 883 complaints for the 2017/2018 financial year.
- As in the previous year, short term insurance (3 012) again formed the majority of complaints received, together with long term insurance at 2 676.
- Complainants domiciled in Gauteng remained the source of the majority of complaints received by the Office (44.41%), followed by the Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal at 13.72% and 13.55% respectively.
Mr Naresh Tulsie, served as the FAIS Ombud from May 2018 to 1 November 2019. In this short space of time we saw a lot more examples of impartiality and fairness than in the past. We wish to thank him for this and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
Click here to download the statistics.
Click here to download the OFO’s media release.