Sunday 25 February 2018

New hope for time-barred finance victims

Picture posed. Thinkstock
Picture posed. Thinkstock

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

THOUSANDS of people whose complaints about financial products were rejected because of rules on time limits may now get a chance to resubmit them.

It comes after a bill to change the rule that stops consumers making complains about products or service they bought more than six years ago has passed the final stages in the Dáil, and was accepted by the Government.

People are currently prevented from complaining to the Financial Services Ombudsman because of the six-year rule.

This provision almost scuppered attempts to deal with the tracker denial scandal. The move to change the time-limit and allow for complaints previously rejected because of the six-year rule is to apply retrospectively. This will allow previously rejected cases to be considered by the ombudsman.

Financial Services Ombudsman Ger Deering said that more than 3,000 complaints have been deemed ineligible under the six-year rule.

The private members' bill, sponsored by Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty, will now proceed to the Seanad.

If it becomes law it will mean thousands of people prevented from making complaints on the likes of whole-of-life insurance may now be able to take a case.

Whole-of-life policies were typically bought decades ago, but problems have only emerged in the last few years.

Around 800 complaints about whole-of-life policies have had to be rejected by the ombudsman because of they fell foul of the six-year rule.

The Doherty bill also promotes greater use of mediation by the ombudsman to resolve disputes, with discussions due to take part with Finance officials on other aspects of the bill.

"My bill will allow many of these people to have their cases heard by the Ombudsman," he said.

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