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If you think you’ve been poorly treated by a financial services provider, your options to complain about and remedy the situation are now much wider and more comprehensive than they were even a decade ago. A typical list of complaints to do with financial products might include:
The introduction of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) means that you now have an industry-recognised path for recourse which is backed up in law.
While it might seem intimidating to complain to a very large financial organisation, you should not simply choose to stay quiet when you think you’ve been treated unfairly. Every financial provider in the UK is obliged to operate according to strict regulations and all of them are obligated to deal with you fairly.
When complaining to the provider, make sure you send your complaint in writing (see Point 3), on the phone or in person. Keep a record of the complaint, the date that you sent it on and – if you made it over the phone – the name of the person that you spoke to. Allow 14 days for a response and keep all correspondence with the company. If you complain over the phone, keep notes of any conversations.
Send your letter by recorded or signed-for delivery.
If you don’t have any luck with the organisation you have complained to then you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. But there are restrictions on when you can do this:
The ombudsman’s remit is wide but it will only deal with disputes over the following financial products: bank accounts, credit cards, financial advice, money transfer, mortgages, hire purchase schemes, insurance, investments, loans, pensions, savings, stocks, shares, unit trusts, bonds and pawnbroking services.
The ombudsman will look at your complaint and, in the first instance, try to settle it informally. If it agrees with you and is unable to persuade the company to reach an amicable settlement, it will be able to take more serious measures. The ombudsman will be able to order the firm to restore you to the position that you would have been in had the matter not arisen and can impose a compensation agreement of up to £100,000 to be paid to you.
If it thinks that you have actually been treated fairly, then it will write to you with an explanation.
While the ombudsman’s decision is normally final you may still be able to complain to the ombudsman’s independent assessor if you are still unhappy. You can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service on 0800 023 4 567.
Oliver Jones has written for Solution Loans since 2015. His passion for personal finance comes through in the 150+ blog posts he's written since that time. His talent for explaining all things money means he's covered topics as diverse as...Read about Oliver Jones
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