Having found no consent with insurers, banks or other financial market participants, consumers more often apply to the Bank of Lithuania, more and more decisions are taken in favour of consumers, while financial market participants increasingly take into account recommendations. ‘We have been observing a trend of residents taking an increasingly active interest in financial services and agreements. Settlement of disputes often not only helps resolve individual disputes, but also detect and fill systemic gaps. It is also important that market participants take a constructive approach towards our recommendations,’ said Mindaugas Šalčius, Director of the Financial Services and Market Supervision Department.
In 2017 the Bank of Lithuania settled more than 500 disputes between consumers and providers of financial services. Most disagreement (over two-thirds) was in the field of insurance; disputes with banks accounted for a fifth. Disagreements within the field of insurance would mostly arise over compulsory insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles: they accounted for 30% of total disputes within this field. The main bone of contention over this issue was the amount of compensation for damage. Quite a lot of disputes within the field of insurance would also arise over property insurance and Casco insurance.
Disputes of residents with banks declined in number, over housing credit agreements in particular. The Law on Real Estate Related Credit came into force as of 1 July 2017, which clearly defined interest and other issues over which there had been most disagreement until now. Most complaints in disputes with banks are now received over payment services, specifically the soundness of fee application.
Compared to 2016, last year decisions adopted by the Bank of Lithuania in favour of consumers grew by a third. There have been cases when the amount paid out to a consumer following the settlement of a dispute equated to €8,000. Last year financial market participants implemented 83% of Bank of Lithuania recommendations on decisions taken in favour of consumers (in 2016 – 75%). A total of 76 amicable agreements were reached in 2017, of which three-fourths – when the Bank of Lithuania undertook to settle a dispute. In a fourth of cases, the parties arrived at an amicable agreement after the Bank of Lithuania transferred a consumer’s claim to a financial market participant who revised the decision the consumer was dissatisfied with.