Removal of six-year time limit on financial complaints

Sinn Féin bill passes final stage in Dáil

The rule giving consumers a mere six-year window to complain about financial products to the Financial Services Ombudsman is set to be abolished.

A new bill from Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty that will remove the legal stipulation passed the final stage in the Dáil last night and now proceeds to the Seanad.

Deputy Doherty expressed delight at the bill's easy passage, explaining how it would help consumers who felt aggrieved in the past.

"It is estimated that over a thousand complaints annually are either not made or not heard as a result of the six-year rule," he said.

Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty. Image: Brian Lawless PA Wire/PA Images

"Between 2011 and 2016, over 3,000 people were excluded from the Financial Services Ombudsman system because of the six-year rule. Many others may not have even applied because they knew six years had elapsed."

Doherty added that he was aware of many cases where families are waiting for the legislation to be passed so that they can make complaints against a bank or insurance provider and potentially receive compensation. 

Citing the tracker mortgage scandal and payment protection insurance mis-selling seen in recent years, he expressed his hopes that the bill would bring consumers closer to being on a "level playing field" when dealing with financial institutions.

He added that it was the "first opposition bill to be passed through all stages in the Dáil for some time..."