The summary dismissal of a complaint by the FAIS Ombud was overturned by the Financial Sector Tribunal in a decision published on 30 April 2021.
The complaint was dismissed by the Ombud in terms of Rule 7(b)(i) of the Rules of the Proceedings of the Office of the Ombud which provides that the Ombud may dismiss a complaint without referral to any other party if, on the facts provided by the complainant, it appears to the Ombud that the complaint does not have any reasonable prospect of success.
The consequence of the summary dismissal was that the product house, against whom the complaint was laid, was not asked for its input on the matter.
When the complainant applied for leave to apply for a reconsideration of the decision, the Tribunal found that there were material issues that needed to be considered, which were not addressed by any party. It also noted that the documentation was, in any event, incomplete.
The Tribunal found it is impossible to make a finding on the papers before it and, specifically because the Ombud had not applied the audi principle by notifying the product provider of the complaint and inviting its input.
The decision by the Ombud was set aside and referred back for investigation of the complaint in the normal manner.