Bank of Lithuania
2012-02-02

The Bank of Lithuania projects that having concentrated the investigation of all disputes between consumers and financial services providing enterprises under the umbrella of one institution, the total number of disputes should increase but their investigation will become less complicated.

Starting with this year, financial institution customers thinking that their rights were infringed and problems with the service provider itself were not solved, may address the Bank of Lithuania authorized by the law to investigate consumer disputes with financial service providers.

“Now it will be simpler for the consumer to protect its rights. There will be no need to knock around from one institution to another.  We project that after the concentration of dispute investigation in the hands of one institution, the overall number of disputes will step up, but the Bank of Lithuania will do its best to attain a quick settlement of disputes, and unbiased, of course”, says Vilius Šapoka, Director of the Financial Services and Markets Supervision Department of the Supervision Service of the Bank of Lithuania.

The Bank of Lithuania will investigate disputes related to loans, insurance, investment services, payments and other financial services, between these services providing entity and the consumer.

It will also investigate disputes of collective investment undertakings established in Lithuania, participants of pension funds, with managers of these undertakings or funds, arsing from relations of the participation in a respective undertaking or fund.

 Disputes of investors and issuers performing the primary securities emission on their own, arising from relations of securities distribution will also be investigated. It is estimated that consumers can address the Bank of Lithuania in relation with approximately 500 service providers.

One of important principles of the Bank of Lithuania in investigating disputes in this area – to encourage market participants and consumers to settle disputes in a peaceful manner and reach the agreement satisfying both parties of the dispute. In case of a failure to do this, the Bank of Lithuania takes a decision to satisfy the consumer’s requirements in full or in part, and if requirements are unsubstantiated or unproved it rejects them. Disputes in the Bank of Lithuania will be investigated by following the competition principle between the consumer and financial market participant.  

For the consumer to bear as little inconveniences as possible, the Bank of Lithuania will obtain lacking information needed for taking an objective decision from the financial institution.

“The investigation of a dispute shall not last at the Bank of Lithuania longer than two months from the date of the consumer’s appeal, in extraordinary cases it is possible to prolong this term but not more than two months,”– reminds Darius Andriukaitis, Head of the Consumers Security and Education Division of the Financial Services and Markets Supervision Department of the Supervision Service of the Bank of Lithuania.

According to him, it is important for consumers to know that the Bank of Lithuania decision is a recommendation and cannot be appealed at court.

“Experience of the former Insurance Supervision Commission suggests that nine out of ten Commission decisions related to disputes between insurance enterprises and their customers were based on goodwill. Financial institutions value their reputation and usually implement recommendations of supervisory institutions”, said Darius Andriukaitis.

A new section for consumers in the Bank of Lithuania website posts comprehensive advice for consumers on how to behave in order to smoothly and effectively settle a dispute between them and a financial market participant. It publishes Consumer’s Appeal Form (42 KB download icon) which is offered to be filled in when presenting an appeal to the Bank of Lithuania. Information important to market participants and consumers will be disseminated by other channels as well.