The following stories show how we've been able to help people with different kinds of problems and complaints:
"I'm having difficulty with my car insurance company. Is this something you can help me with?"
"I have a complaint about my bank, and a friend said you might be able to help?"
"I was fed up with my building society. I'd lost out because of their mistakes on my mortgage. Complaining to them got me nowhere. I even put it in writing but nothing changed. I didn't know what to expect from the ombudsman service but my wife said it was worth giving them a call."
"I had a dreadful time when my kitchen was flooded. There was a huge amount of mess and damage. Funnily enough my friend had a similar problem a few months earlier. She'd been full of praise for the fantastic service they'd had from their insurance company."
"Financially, things would be very difficult indeed by now if we'd not had the ombudsman to look into things for us. I'd been made redundant and asked a firm of financial advisers how I could make the most of my limited income."
"I'd picked up the ombudsman's card several months back at a local event. I'd pinned it on my kitchen notice board, thinking I'd hang on to the details – just in case. To be honest, it never occurred to me I'd actually be needing the ombudsman's help – certainly not so soon anyway."
"It was a real worry to be faced with what looked like becoming a serious complaint. My client hadn't yet complained to the ombudsman service - and I wanted to try and settle matters before that happened. But nothing I suggested seemed to help. We were going round in circles and things were starting to get out of hand."
These illustrative stories are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.