Basic Search Fields

Information Provided by Parties on Compact Discs

Issue

Information that cannot be accessed

Ensuring that information can be accessed

Issue

Financial Services Providers and some Applicants provide information to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) on CDs. This approach works well in most instances.  However, FOS or parties to disputes may not be able to access some information on CDs. This article addresses that issue.

We have not been able to access, for example, certain telephone recordings provided on CDs recently where codecs were applied or formats were incompatible with our systems. If we cannot access information, we cannot use it in the dispute resolution process.

Our obligation under paragraph 8.4a) of our Terms of Reference is important in this context. Paragraph 8.4a) requires us, before making a determination in a dispute, to ensure that the parties are given access to the documentation, information and material on which we propose to rely in the determination. If a party is not given access to information on a CD due to its format, we cannot rely on the information in a determination. 

Information that cannot be accessed

If, in relation to a dispute, we receive information on a CD that we, or a party to the dispute, cannot access, we may request that the information be provided in another format within a specified timeframe.  Factors for us to take into account when deciding whether to make such a request include our obligations under the Terms of Reference such as:

  • paragraph 8.2, which requires us to do what is fair in the circumstances of a dispute; and
  • paragraphs 8.5 and 8.6, which require us to give the parties to a dispute a reasonable opportunity to make submissions and provide information before we make a recommendation or determination. 

Ensuring that information can be accessed

As explained above, the resolution of a dispute may be delayed or complicated if information provided on a CD by a party to the dispute cannot be accessed by FOS or the other party. To facilitate dispute resolution, we request parties to ensure that any information provided on a CD is in an accessible format. As a general rule, more widely used formats are more likely to be accessible. 

For instance, audio recordings in widely used formats such as MP3 and WAV can be accessed by FOS. However, we cannot access audio recordings in less widely used formats and paragraph 8.4 of the Terms of Reference may prevent us from relying on them. We also note that we will not accept a transcript of an audio recording without the recording itself.