Complaints Procedure

At St. Colmcille’s (Kells) Credit Union Ltd each of our members are very important to us, and we believe you have the right to a fair, swift and courteous service at all times. If we are in receipt of a complaint we will deal with it promptly, effectively and in a positive manner following the procedure below.

 

St. Colmcille’s (Kells) Credit Union Ltd. Complaints Procedure

STEP 1) We will acknowledge your complaint within 5 business days of receipt of your complaint.

STEP 2) We will investigate your complaint and endeavor to send a final response to you within 40 business days of receipt of your complaint. However, we will provide you with a written update on the progress of our investigation at intervals not greater than 20 business days from receipt of your complaint.

STEP 3) If we have not resolved your complaint to your satisfaction within the 40 business days period, we will inform you of the anticipated timeframe within which we hope to resolve your complaint.

STEP 4) COMPLETION OF INVESTIGATION: We will advise you in writing within 5 business days of the completion of our investigation of your complaint of the outcome of the investigation and we will explain clearly the terms of any offer or settlement being made, if any.

STEP 5)

  • Where we have written to you at STEP 3 to inform you that we have not resolved your complaint in the 40 business days period we will inform you of your right to refer your complaint matter to the Financial Services Ombudsman, including the contact details of the Ombudsman. The contact details for the Ombudsman appear at the end of this leaflet.
  • Where we have written to you at STEP 4 we will inform you of your right to refer your complaint matter to the Financial Services Ombudsman including the contact details of the Ombudsman. The contact details for each Ombudsman appear at the end of this leaflet.

Contact details for:

Financial Services Ombudsman’s Bureau
3rd Floor,
Lincoln House,
Lincoln Place,
Dublin 2Lo Call: 1890 88 20 90
Tel:01 6620899
Fax:01 6620890

Email:
enquiries@financialombudsman.ie

www.financialombudsman.ie

Complaint Mechanism No. 1 – Informal Complaint

This will generally be the first option for members who wish to make a complaint to the Credit Union and will result in resolution without escalation. An informal complaint can be made orally or in writing. When a written complaint has been received, it should be acknowledged in writing within two business days. Each complainant should be given a copy of the Credit Union’s policy and any relevant Rules with respect to complaints. In particular, the complainant should be made aware of the processes and personnel involved and the likely timescale for a resolution of the complaint by the Credit Union.

An informal complaint can be resolved by the CEO or Compliance Officer through an informal discussion or meeting with the complainant. Where the complaint cannot be resolved through such a discussion or meeting, the complaint should be elevated to the next stage Complaint Mechanism No. 2. If the unresolved complaint was originally submitted orally, the CEO or Compliance Officer should request that the complainant submit the complaint in writing. The written (unresolved) complaint then be dealt with in accordance with the procedures as set down under the Credit Union Rules.

 

Complaint Mechanism No. 2 – Procedures under the Credit Union Rules

The Rules of the Credit Union must outline procedures for the resolution of formal complaints. Formal complaints include complaints which were originally submitted by a member informally but which could not be resolved by the Credit Union informally and complaints which were initiated through the formal complaints mechanism.

Once a formal complaint has been received by the Credit Union, the complainant should be given a copy of the relevant Rules with respect to formal complaints. In particular, the complainant should be made aware of the processes and personnel involved and the likely timescale for a resolution of the complaint by the Credit Union.

 

All complaints to the Board of Directors should be copied in full to the Board together with a summary of additional information to assist them, including the following information:

  • Name & Address of member
  • Joining date
  • Details of the complaint or dispute, including dates of any events from which the complaint or dispute arises
  • Copies of all supporting documentation, including letters, statements, etc.

 

The complaint will be discussed by the Board of Directors or a dedicated sub-committee of the Board at their next meeting. The Board will consult with the CEO or any other relevant officers, and, if necessary, may consult with other external advisors or experts. The Board of Directors may offer the member a meeting if appropriate. Once a decision has been reached by the Board of Directors, they will issue a letter to the member outlining that decision. The Board of Directors has two months from the date of the complaint to conclude their investigation and assessment and inform the member of their decision. This letter will include a statement that the member may refer the matter to the Financial Services Ombudsman.

 

Complaints Mechanism No. 3 – Referral to Arbitration under the Credit Union Rules

Where the Rules of the Credit Union provide that a dispute shall be determined by arbitration, the relevant regulatory and statutory rules on the conduct of arbitration apply.

The Rules of the Credit Union shall be deemed to be an arbitration agreement and the arbitrator(s) will be selected in accordance with the method as set down in the Rules. Where no procedure is set down in the Rules, one arbitrator shall be appointed by the Board of Directors and one arbitrator shall be appointed by the member whose complaint is the subject of the dispute (section 126(b)).

The Rules can also provide that a dispute be determined by the Registrar of Credit Unions and if so, the Registrar shall be deemed to be the single arbitrator [or shall appoint an arbitrator].

 

 

Complaints Mechanism No. 4 – Referral to the Financial Services Ombudsman

 

There are generally two types of member complaints that may be referred to the FSO:

  • The provision of a financial service by the Credit Union.
  • The failure of the Credit Union to provide a financial service that has been requested.

It is preferable that all member complaints go through the Credit Union’s internal complaints procedure as outlined above before being referred to the FSO to allow the Credit Union and its member an opportunity to resolve the complaint inter parties.

Where a complaint is made directly to the FSO so that the Credit Union’s internal processes have been by-passed or where the complainant remains unhappy with the Credit Union’s response, the Credit Union will receive written confirmation of a member complaint from the Financial Services Ombudsman and will be called upon to issue in writing its Final Response. The Credit Union has 25 working days in which to try to resolve the complaint by its internal complaint procedures, unless previously exhausted.

If at the end of the twenty-five working days, a resolution has not been attained, a Final Response letter must be issued to the complainant by the nominated member of senior management. All Credit Unions must designate an officer to fulfil this role. If the Credit Union requires more time to review the complaint, for example if it requires the complainant to undergo a medical examination, the FSO must be notified of same.

The Final Response letter must:

 

  • Contain a detailed account of the dispute at hand
  • Address all issues outlined in complainant’s Complaint Form
  • Quote the applicable loan contract terms/policy conditions/terms of business etc
  • Give details of any redress offered to the complainant by the Credit Union
  • State that it is the Final Response of the Credit Union for the purpose of referring the matter to the Financial Services Ombudsman’s Bureau
  • Advise the complainant that he/she has 15 working days from the date of said Final Response to refer the matter to the Financial Services Ombudsman’s Bureau for investigation.

 

If the Complainant is not satisfied with the Credit Union’s final response, the Financial Services Ombudsman will assess the complaint and the option of mediation will be offered to both parties by the Ombudsman as a means of resolving the matter. If mediation is not availed of or is unsuccessful then a formal investigation of the complaint by the Ombudsman will begin.

 

Investigation

In the course of investigation, the Credit Union will be required to answer a series of questions posed by the FSO and to submit any material and make any submissions which the Credit Union sees as being desirable to put before the Ombudsman or which the Ombudsman requires to see, to enable the Ombudsman to investigate and adjudicate upon the complaint. This must be done within 20 working days.

 

These responses and documents will be copied to the complainant who will be given 10 working days to submit any observations. Any observations from the complainant will be copied to the Credit Union who will be given 5 working days to submit any further observations.All the circumstances surrounding the complaint will then be examined. Further information or supporting documentation may be requested from both parties. Every case is judged on its individual merits.

The time taken to investigate a dispute depends on the complexity of the individual case as well as outside factors, such as the availability of relevant material. In general, the investigation is completed within 6 – 8 weeks after a full exchange of documentary evidence has taken place. However, for certain cases supplementary information will be necessary which may cause this period to be extended.

 

In the course of reviewing the evidence the Ombudsman will consider whether an oral hearing is necessary. If an oral hearing is held then the oral evidence given under oath at that hearing will be reviewed together with the documentary evidence and a Finding will be issued to both parties.

 

Where an oral hearing is not deemed to be necessary a Finding will issue to both parties after all the evidence has been reviewed in full.

 

 

Finding

The Finding of the Financial Services Ombudsman is legally binding on both parties, subject only to appeal by either party to the High Court. A party has 21 calendar days from the date of the Financial Services Ombudsman’s Finding in which to appeal to the High Court. Regardless of the nature of the complaint or the actual finding, the FSO will have regard to what procedures the Credit Union had in place for complaints handling and the manner in which the subject complaint was handled both before and after referral to his office.

 

Complaints Mechanism No. 5 – Application to the District Court

There are two instances where a member’s complaint to a Credit Union may result in an application to the District Court. Where the Rules of the Credit Union contain no directions regarding the resolution of disputes or where the Credit Union has not made a decision within 50 days after the member notified his/her complaint to the Credit Union, the member may apply to the District Court to hear and determine the dispute (section 125(5), 1997 Act).

In addition, where a decision has been made by the Credit Union pursuant to its Rules or by the Registrar, such a decision is binding and conclusive and cannot be appealed by either parties. The decision is, however, enforceable through the application of either party to the District Court (section 125(4), 1997 Act).