On the 25 March 2020, the Malta Financial Services Authority (“MFSA”) issued a circular as part of its efforts to protect retail customers during the current COVID-19 crisis. In the circular, the MFSA reminds relevant firms of its expectations on the measures implemented with regards to complaints handling.
The MFSA reiterated that the licence holder's Business Continuity Plans are expected to have a customer communication strategy or plan prepared in the event of serious disruption to its business, products or services. Licence holders are expected to constantly monitor, evaluate and mitigate the risks of disruption they are exposed to. The MFSA puts an emphasis on timely communication between licence holders and itself in the situations where the risks may be detrimental to customers and where there are any planned or unplanned service changes, interruptions or withdrawals.
Licence Holders are also reminded of their responsibility to have sufficient resources in place to adequately handle complaints at all times, even when a surge of complaints is filed. Additionally, licence holders must ensure that their customers are provided with timely information on their rights including, the procedure of filing a complaint and the availability of statutory compensation measures. Customer records must also be maintained in an accurate and up-to-date manner should the MFSA require them in the event of significant disruption of the business.
Finally, the MFSA invited licence holders to provide information, on a voluntary basis, relating to any increase in complaints which they identify as COVID-19 related customer complaints. In doing so, Licence holders are to provide the nature of the complaint, the customer detriment involved and the intended actions to resolve such complaints.
Feel free to contact us on any queries relating to complaints handling procedures.