Co-op ends £15 complaint guarantee

Co-operative bankTroubled Co-operative Bank is to scrap a guarantee which meant it paid out £15 to customers who complained that its products or services were not up to scratch.

The mutual, which has been dealing with a £1.5 billion hole in its banking arm, said the move is unrelated to its recent difficulties and customers will not be left any worse off if they need to make a complaint.

The Co-op has been writing to customers to say it is removing its "service level guarantees" from September 16.

These guarantees, which were made to customers who hold mainstream retail products such as current accounts and credit cards, meant they received £15 if the mutual failed to meet standards such as making sure statements were free of mistakes.
The Co-op said that all customers who were covered by the guarantee will still be able to use its main redress channel to receive compensation, which will simplify the existing system.

It is making the changes after seeing a one third drop in the number of customers using the service level guarantee system over the last year and an even faster decline during 2013.

The system, which has been in place for over 15 years, was seen as becoming outdated, with references in the guarantee to issuing cheque books, for example.

The mutual, which has previously hailed its guarantees as an example of it "putting our money where our mouth is," could not give a figure for how many customers are affected.

It said in a statement: "This change brings us into line with the industry and no customer will experience any detriment as a result of this decision.

"This move has been made in line with complaint handling regulation and improves the speed of resolution for complaints, increasing our ability to provide appropriate recompense to customers at first point of contact."