The Financial Ombudsman is an official independent dispute resolution body for financial services. If you make a complaint to a financial service provider and they fail to resolve it, then you can ask the Ombudsman for help. The Financial Ombudsman can investigate the complaint and liaise between company and customer. It is impartial, so it will consider both sides of the story. They will ensure that the company is acting fairly and make a final ruling. The company must then follow the Ombudsman’s order to take particular action, including paying compensation to the customer. This guide tells you how to write a complaint letter.
What kind of complaints can I write to the Financial Ombudsman about?
The Financial Ombudsman only handles complaints about financial service providers if the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) regulates them. They should tell you if this is the case, as well as having this information on their company website. These are things they help with:
- Bank accounts (direct debits, charges, transaction disputes, cheque clearing, administrative errors or delays)
- Credit cards (unfair charges, unexplained interest increases, Section 75 claims)
- Irresponsible lending and debt collection (payday lenders, harassment)
- Insurance (mis-sold policies, rejections, delays, not paying claims)
- Investments (with-profits, whole-of-life, unit-linked bonds, stockbrokers)
- Mortgages (loans, affordability, arrears)
When can I complain to the Financial Ombudsman?
You cannot complain to an Ombudsman without contacting the company first. Whether it is a bank or insurance provider, they must address your complaint. They will have 8 weeks to provide a final response before you can go to the Ombudsman. You may be able to contact the Ombudsman sooner than this if the company sends a deadlock letter. This will basically say that the company will not change their response, and provides some contact details for the Ombudsman if you are still not happy with this. You will have 3 to 6 years to complain.
How to Complain to the Financial Ombudsman
Once it has been 8 weeks from your first complaint to the financial service, or if you receive a rejection letter from them, then you can get in touch with the Ombudsman. You need to print off and fill out their official complaint form. Then you must post this to the Financial Ombudsman. They will investigate the case and pass a final judgement, which the company must uphold. However, this can take 3 to 9 months. The sooner you send your complaint to them, the better. You could also write a complaint letter and send that along with the form.
Financial Ombudsman Complaint Letter Template
Use the complaint form as a guide to gather all the information that you will need. Then follow this letter template and post both of them to the Financial Ombudsman’s address.
Financial Ombudsman Service
To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing to refer a complaint against [COMPANY NAME] which the company has failed to resolve. I made the initial complaint on [DATE] by [METHOD: e.g. calling up on the phone, sending an e-mail, contacting a representative on a social media site]. The company’s response to my complaint was not satisfactory because [REASON: e.g. they did not fix the problem, or they refused to acknowledge their responsibility for the issue].
It has now been [AMOUNT OF TIME] since then and the issue is still ongoing. I do not believe that this is fair treatment or appropriate customer service from [COMPANY NAME]. Their mistakes and failure to rectify them have had negative consequences, which they should also be held accountable for.
In the accompanying form, I have explained what went wrong and what [COMPANY NAME] did and did not do about this, as well as the action I expect to be taken. I am hoping that the Financial Ombudsman can obtain a fair resolution and enforce the correct standards of behaviour. Please find my contact information on the form if you require further details or supporting evidence from myself.
[YOUR FULL NAME]