Know your rights: Who can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service?

The Financial Ombudsman Service recently changed their rules of who is eligible to make a complaint.  Read our article to learn your rights to complain and what the FOS can do for you in event of an issue.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is the impartial body for dealing with complaints arising from the financial services industry, including insurance, banking, financial advice and pensions etc. For the past few years, the vast majority of complaints to the FOS have been in relation to the sale of Payment Protection Insurance however these can arise from any aspect of financial services from repudiation of claims, to sales of products with financially unstable insurers, to poor investment advice. The FOS website produces regular publications and case precedents which give an insight in to their day to day activities and decisions

Historically, only consumers and ‘micro-enterprises’ were entitled to use the FOS however recent changes have given access to a significantly larger sector of businesses. The FOS advises they will now help the following:

  • Consumers
  • A micro-enterprise, i.e. a business which:
    • has a turnover or annual balance sheet that does not exceed €2 million
    • employs fewer than 10 employees
  • A small business i.e. an enterprise which: 
    • is not a micro-enterprise
    • has an annual turnover of less than £6.5 million
    • has a balance sheet total of less than £5 million, or employs fewer than 50 employees
  • Charities with an annual income of less than £6.5m and trusts with a net asset value of less than £5m; and individuals who act as personal guarantors for loans to businesses they’re involved in.

Please be aware that the FOS will only look at complaints for a small business which arose from events on or after the 1st of April 2019.

In order to complain, you must allow the business who is the source of your complaint the chance to resolve the matter first. They will follow the guidelines prescribed by the FOS and if you are still not happy with the response, you must enter your complaint to the FOS within 6 months of their final response.

The FOS will make a decision based upon the information provided by both parties and can award compensation which is binding on both parties. The amount of compensation the FOS can award has increased and for issues arising after 1st April 2019 is now £350,000. Complaints for issues arising prior to this date can be awarded compensation up to £160,000.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this blog, please do not hesitate to contact Stevie Jeffrey on 0115 8400300.