Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (199)

Michael McGrath

Question:

199. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he intends to introduce a change to the legislation whereby consumers currently have six years from the date they purchased a financial product to submit a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman; if he will consider allowing persons a certain period of time from the date they became aware of a problem with the financial product to submit a complaint; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30314/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Firstly, I must point out that the Financial Services Ombudsman is independent in the performance of his statutory functions. I have no role in the day to day workings of the office. The Financial Services Ombudsman Bureau was established under the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2004. This legislation provides the Financial Services Ombudsman with various powers in order to determine jurisdiction on a complaint. Included in this is a statutory timeframe, Section 57BX (3)(b) provides:-

“A consumer is not entitled to make a complaint if the conduct complained of - occurred more than 6 years before the complaint is made.”

The legislation prohibits the Financial Services Ombudsman from examining any aspect of a complaint where the conduct being complained of occurred more than 6 years from receipt of the Complaint in his Office. If the conduct being complained of occurred 6 year before the complaint is submitted to the Financial Services Ombudsman, the Ombudsman has no discretion in examining such a case”.

I, as Minister for Finance, do not have the primary role in relation to amending the law on the “Statue of Limitations”. This is a matter which has broader legal application and as such would fall for consideration by my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality.