Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Questions (75)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

75. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Finance his plans to amend section 57BX of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2004 in order that persons can make complaints about financial products beyond the current six-year limit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15619/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As I stated previously in a reply to a question regarding this issue on 12th March, I, as Minister for Finance, do not have the primary role in relation to amending the law in relation to the "Statute of Limitations".  This is a matter which has broad legal application and, as such, would fall for consideration, in the first instance by, my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality.

As the Deputy is aware, a consumer is not entitled to make a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman if the conduct complained of occurred more than six years before the complaint is made. A complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman may be made within three years of the complainant first becoming aware of the act giving rise to the complaint, even if this is longer than six years. Whether both windows of complaint should be similar when both offices are amalgamated in line with the Government decision is a policy matter which will be decided when the legislation is being developed. Providing the necessary protection to the consumer over the longer term is of paramount importance. Therefore, the design of the appropriate mechanisms to achieve this is complex, as it involves a range of considerations, including the interface with the Statute of Limitations, existing consumer protection laws, complaints mechanisms and availability of records.