The FOS expands cooperation with Saratov State Law Academy
The Legal Clinic of Saratov State Law Academy with the support of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) will start providing consultations on filing complaints to the Financial Ombudsman on February 15, 2021, Head of the Ombudsman for financial services consumers support Service (OFSC) Olga Kraynova said.
The Legal Clinic has been operating on the basis of the Saratov State Law Academy since 1999, and its main purpose is providing free legal assistance to citizens and conducting activities to improve financial literacy.
Before the launch of consultation service on filing complaints to the FOS, students and staff of the Legal Clinic received special training, which was conducted by the staff of Saratov Branch No. 1 of the OFSC. At the beginning of February there was also an additional training concerning new participants of obligatory interaction with the Financial Ombudsman Service – banks, non-state pension funds, credit consumer cooperatives and pawnshops. After the start of consumer consultations, Saratov Branch No. 1 of the OFSC will provide methodological support to the staff of the Legal Clinic.
«The Clinic staff, who will provide consultations to citizens, will help consumers of financial services to draw up a complaint to the FOS and collect all necessary documents. Consumers will also be able to get general information about the FOS institution, claim procedure, terms of complaint consideration and other information related to the out-of-court dispute resolution through the institution of the Financial Ombudsman,» Olga Kraynova says.
Residents of the Saratov Region actively appeal to the Financial Ombudsman Service: 2,146 complaints were received from them in 2020. In the structure of complaints the greatest quantity falls on disputes on compulsory motor TPL insurance (1725 complaints, or 80.4%), life insurance, accident and disease insurance (252 complaints, or 11.7%), and hull insurance (59 complaints, or 2.7%). The Financial Ombudsman made 1,308 decisions based on the results of complaints consideration in 2020.
«As the FOS institution is very much in demand among residents of the Saratov Region, we expect the demand for consultations by the Legal Clinic staff to be high, as well,» Head of the OFSC Olga Kraynova says.
She notes that such activities will help reduce the proportion of complaints not accepted for consideration. For example, the share of such complaints from residents of the Saratov Region in 2020 was 39%. «There is a list of cases when the Financial Ombudsman does not consider complaints. For example, when a consumer does not comply with the claim stage of settling their disagreements with a financial institution. In that case, the complaint is not accepted for consideration. Specialists will help consumers deal with these kinds of issues,» Olga Kraynova adds.
The practice of such interaction between the Financial Ombudsman Service and a university can be extended to universities in other regions where similar legal clinics operate, Olga Kraynova says. «The expansion of such activities would help improve the level of protection of the rights of consumers of financial services in the country. Consumers of financial services would be able to receive free qualified assistance,» Olga Kraynova assures.
The new mandatory out-of-court dispute resolution procedure to deal with consumer disputes with financial institutions – insurance companies, MFOs, credit institutions, non-governmental pension funds, pawnshops and credit consumer cooperatives – has been introduced in Russia. Before filing a claim to the court against a financial institution, a consumer must apply to the Financial Ombudsman, who handles disputes with the amount of claims up to RUB 500,000. The Financial Ombudsman accepts and reviews consumer complaints free of charge. You can find out how to file a complaint on the FOS website, where the specifics of filing a complaint are explained step-by-step. In addition, Russian citizens can obtain expert assistance from the FOS staff by calling the toll-free number 8-800-200-00-10. They can also consult on the procedure for filing a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman as well as receive information about all stages of consumer complaints processing by the Financial Ombudsman Service.