Handling and progress of cases at FINE
1. FINE can assist you if
- the service provider which is your counterparty is a member of Finance Finland [Finanssiala ry] or has concluded an agreement with FINE for the examination of their cases.
- the service provider is an insurance company, bank, investment firm, fund management company, pension fund or employee benefit fund.
Please go to the subpage Service providers whose issues are examined by FINE.
In several insurance and banking issues, you can also refer to the Consumer Disputes Board. The proceedings in these Boards are mutually exclusive: FINE will not issue a decision in a case pending at the Consumer Disputes Board. Moreover, FINE will not issue recommended solutions at the request of the interested party in a case that is pending or has been examined by a court of law.
2. Before contacting us
Please ensure you have first tried to clarify the case or dispute with the service provider and have obtained a written decision or response in you case.
If the service provider has an internal appeal body (such as a customer or service officer, customer representative), you should start by contacting them for a rectification of their decision before turning to FINE.
3. Please call FINE’s advice service first
You should start by calling FINE’s advice service. Many issues are clarified with the advice you get over the phone.
4. If your case requires written documentation, FINE will need your consent
If FINE needs to contact your service provider for the clarifications in the case, FINE needs your consent to obtain confidential documents. FINE also needs to tell you about the registration and processing of your personal data. These details will be taken care of when you fill in FINE’s digital contact form.
If you are not personally taking care of your case but you are being assisted by another person (representative), you must provide them with a mandate to take care of your business. You can give the mandate either by filling in respective spot in the digital contact form or a separate mandate on paper, giving the name of your attorney or representative.
FINE will contact your service provider after receiving the necessary consent/mandate. FINE will start the clarifications by asking the service provider to send the documentation related to the case. Typically, this phase will take a few weeks.
Once the documents have arrived, FINE’s expert studies the case and considers which will be the most purposeful way to proceed.
The FINE expert will contact you or the attorney or representative you have chosen, either by phone or by email.
- If the expert finds that it will not be possible to obtain a change through negotiations, they will take up the case with you.
- If the service provider’s decision differs, according to the expert, from the established practice of decisions, FINE will try to negotiate with the service provider to find a solution in the case at hand.
Most cases are solved already at this point, either by a reconciliation or by the customer accepting the expert’s assessment according to which the service provider has made a correct decision.
6. Initiation of a dispute
If FINE sees at the very beginning of the case that it is not likely to find a reconciliation to satisfy both parties through negotiations, the case will proceed to the dispute process. In that case, FINE will send you a notification of the initiation of the dispute.
Disputes are examined in writing, based on documents. Any aspects that the parties wish to be taken into account in the resolution of the case, must be presented to FINE in writing.
Cases that have an established resolution history will be examined by the FINE office. The average time for examining a case by the FINE office, from the initiation until the issue of the final resolution, is about 6 months.
The Complaint Boards examine cases with no former resolution history or otherwise exceptionally complicated. At Complaints Boards, the examination of the case takes about 6 to 9 months. In complex cases, the time may be significantly longer.
7. Request for response sent to service provider
To start the examination of a dispute, FINE will send your complaint to the service provider, which is your counterparty, asking for a written response. At the same time, FINE asks the service provider to hand over all documents in the case, unless they have already been issues during the advice phase. The response arrives in about one month from the request.
8. Hearing of parties
The service provider’s response to your complaint is served to you for information. At the same time, FINE sets a date by which you can send FINE eventual additional comments and clarifications. During the examination of the case, FINE hears both parties by sending any written statements to the counterparty and reserving them the opportunity to express an opinion on them.
The written statements by the parties must be accompanied by copies of the documents they wish to plead to in the case. Please do not send original documents, prints, receipts or invoices. FINE is not in charge of any compensation payments and therefore these documents are not needed.
At the dispute phase, the parties themselves decide which aspects and clarifications they wish to highlight. FINE will not pay for the charges of the clarification and will not acquire them at its own initiative. However, FINE may ask the parties to complement their clarifications if FINE notices that there is already some additional information on the case without which the recommended solution cannot be pronounced. Please note that you can speed up the examination of your case by presenting all arguments and clarifications at once.
FINE will not be able to hear the interested persons or witnesses under oath. Should a reliable solution of the dispute call for an oral hearing of the interested parties or witnesses, FINE can decide not to issue its solution in the case.
9. Acquiring eventual expert opinions
If FINE finds it necessary, it can acquire, at its own cost, an expert opinion of a neutral and external expert chosen by FINE. The requested opinions may focus on medical, veterinary, construction technical or car technology issues calling for special expertise. The expert must be qualified and unimpeded. Therefore, a doctor assisting in the patient’s care and therapy cannot provide FINE with an expert opinion. The expert will not resolve the case but the recommended solution is always issued by FINE.
If FINE acquires an expert opinion, it will also be sent to the parties for information, and they will be provided with an opportunity to comment on it by a set deadline before the case is resolved.
10. End of the written statement process
Once the written statement process has been closed, FINE will send the parties a notice of the expired process, and the case proceeds to decision-making.
11. Issue of a recommended solution
In the office process, the case will be resolved by a FINE Head of Division upon the presentation of an expert.
The FINE Complaints Boards are constituted by members who are experts in the area in question and external to FINE. The Complaint Boards meet about once a month. In the Complaint Board process, the representing officer is a FINE expert of Head of Division. After the meeting, the preparation and sending of the final recommended solution to the parties normally takes a few weeks.
12. After the issue of a recommended solution
The FINE solutions are recommendations by nature and are not binding to the parties. However, the service providers almost always abide by the FINE recommendations.
If FINE has recommended that the service provider change their decision in some part, the service provider normally contacts you at their own initiative, sending you a new decision in the case at hand.
The recommended solutions issued by FINE are published in FINE’s database of recommended solutions in anonymised form, removing any details that allow for the recognition of the parties.
For further information, please refer to the FINE Regulations.
Dissatisfied with the solution
Since the decisions by FINE are recommendations by nature and they are not appealable. For FINE, the examination of the case ends with the issue with a recommended solution.
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the case after receiving the FINE solution, you can file a suit against the service provider, your counterparty, at a Court of Law within the statutory period of limitation of action. If the dispute is about an insurance case, please read the instructions for appeal attached to the decision by the insurance company.
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