This section answers a number of frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about:
how do I complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service?
It's important that the business or company you think is responsible for a problem should have the chance to look into any complaint – before the ombudsman steps in and decides who is right or wrong. Many complaints are caused by misunderstandings that the business can quickly put right, once you explain the problem.
Look at our how to complain pages for details of what to do next – including the form you need to fill in if you want us to look at your complaint. Our leaflet, your complaint and the ombudsman, gives more details.
Monday to Friday – 8am to 8pm
Saturday – 9am to 1pm
we'll be happy to phone you back, if you're worried about the cost of calling us
It's frustrating when things go wrong in life – whether its deliveries that aren't made on time, the repairman not turning up, or a direct-debit payment going wrong.
Consumer research shows that following these steps can help get problems sorted out more quickly:
If you're not sure who to complain to at the business or company involved, get in touch with us. We will contact the right person there for you, telling them that you have a complaint they need to look into.
No. By law, businesses covered by the ombudsman have to handle complaints according to rules set out by the regulator. So you shouldn't need any special help or support if you complain.
The ombudsman service is a free and informal alternative to going to court. We decide if your complaint is valid by looking at the facts of the case – not at how well you present your complaint. And we prefer to hear from you in your own words.
But everyone has the right to appoint someone else to act on their behalf. Some consumers might ask their local Citizens Advice Bureau, or a friend, carer or relative, to help them with their complaint.
If, on the other hand, you decide to employ someone to present your case for you – for example, a lawyer or financial adviser – you will almost certainly have to pay their costs yourself. This could mean you paying them part of any compensation you have been awarded.
More consumers are now choosing to use commercial claims-management companies (sometimes called "no win, no fee" agencies) that charge for their services. Since April 2007, claims-management companies have been required by law to be authorised by the Ministry of Justice. Before you deal with any business offering to handle a complaint on your behalf, you should check on the government website that the business is authorised.
Experience shows no difference in the outcome of complaints – whether consumers bring them to us themselves, or use a claims-management company to complain on their behalf.