Financial Ombudsman Service
If a finance customer is unhappy with the service received, they can file a formal complaint. This can either be submitted in writing (via an email or letter) or expressed vocally.
There are no rules or laws regarding the context of a complaint, so long as it relates to an issue with the service provided. Examples of complaints include instances where the individual believes; they have been treated unfairly, have suffered financial loss, or experienced unnecessary inconvenience.
If you are dissatisfied with the financial service you have received, you should make a formal complaint directly to the lender or broker. Most companies have a complaints form available on their website, which can be returned via email or post. Alternatively, you can make a complaint over the telephone.
When submitting your complaint, you should outline the reasons why you’re unhappy with the service and if applicable, how you want the business to put things right for you.
To help ensure consumers receive a quick and fair solution, all finance providers regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) must follow certain protocols when handling complaints.
For example, financial services firms are not allowed to charge premium rates if the customer is calling to make a complaint. FCA regulations also require all consumer complaints to be acknowledged within three working days.
After this initial response, the company is allowed more time to investigate the complaint and resolve the situation. The timescale will vary depending on the circumstances, but if they are unable to reach an outcome after eight weeks, the firm must contact you and explain why more time is needed to investigate the complaint.
Companies are also required to report all complaints to the FCA, which will publish the data and provide any additional context. This makes it easier for customers to compare firms and the way they handle complaints, enabling customers to make a better-informed decision.
If you make a complaint and you are unhappy with the outcome, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsmen Service (FOS).
The FOS is an independent service set up to help resolve customer complaints within the financial services industry. Whether your complaint is with a bank, a building society, insurance company, investment firm, financial adviser, or finance company, the FOS will look at both sides of the argument and settle on a solution that they consider to be fair.
In some cases, this might be asking the company to submit a formal apology or pay you a certain amount of compensation. Alternatively, they may ask the company to change its procedures to protect future customers from receiving the same experience.
If you are unhappy with the decision from the FOS, you can take your case to court. Should you choose to do so, the judge will treat your case independently from the ombudsman’s decision.
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