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Your complaint and Ombudsman

about the ombudsman

If you’re unhappy with something a financial business has done, you can get in touch with the Financial Ombudsman Service.

It doesn’t cost anything to use us.

We don’t take sides. We look at what’s happened and give our view.

If something’s gone wrong, we can help put it right.

We can help with problems with:

  • bank accounts
  • credit, debit and store cards
  • payment protection insurance (PPI)
  • other insurance, like motor, travel and household
  • loans, including payday loans
  • other credit, like car finance
  • mortgages (money you borrow to buy your home)
  • debt collection
  • money transfers and payments made online
  • financial advice, savings and investments
  • pensions

If you’re not sure if we can help, phone us on 0300 123 9 123. Just let us know if you’d like us to call you back. We record phone calls to help improve our service.

what should I do first?

First of all, give the business the chance to sort things out.

Get in touch with them to explain what’s happened. Tell them how you want things to be put right.

The business has eight weeks to give their final answer to your complaint.

Let us know if you’re not happy with how things turn out. Or tell us if you don't get an answer.

If you’re not sure how to get started, contact us. We can tell the business about the problem for you.

how do I ask you to step in?

You need to contact us within six months of the business’s final answer. You can phone us or by visit our website. We’ll need to know:

  • some personal details – like your name and address
  • what the problem is – and how you want things put right and
  • some key details – like your account number or policy number.

Let us know if we can make things easier for you. We can use a different language or a different format like large print or CD.

how will you look into the problem?

Once we’ve got your details, we’ll:

  • ask for your side of the story – and get the business’s side
  • find out the facts of what’s happened – and weigh everything up and
  • tell you and the business what we think.

If we think there's just been a misunderstanding – or you haven’t lost out – we’ll explain why.

If we decide you’ve been treated unfairly, we'll tell the business to put things right.

You don’t have to agree with what we say. At any point, you can let us know that you no longer want our help.

how long does it take?

It depends on what the problem is.

If there’s just been a mix-up, we might be able to sort things out within a few days.

If we need to find out more information, it could take a few weeks.

It could take longer if things are more complicated – or if you’ve complained about PPI.

We’ll always let you know what’s happening – so you know what to expect.

It could also take longer if you or the business want an ombudsman to make a final decision.

Let us know if your situation is urgent. For example, tell us if you’re seriously ill or having difficulties with money.

is there a deadline for asking you to step in?

You need to contact us within six months of the date of the business’s answer to your complaint.

We might not be able to help if:

  • what you’re complaining about happened more than six years ago and
  • you complain more than three years after you realise (or could have realised) there’s a problem.

do I need help to come to the ombudsman?

We want to hear from you in your own words. We’ll explain anything you’re not sure about.

So you don’t need to pay anyone to complain for you – for example, a solicitor or a claims company.

If you pay someone, it might come out of any compensation you get.

We can talk to a member of your family, a friend or someone else who’s helping you for free – like Citizens Advice.

is using the ombudsman like going to court?

We’re far less formal than a court. We’ll sort things out over the phone and in writing.

Our service isn’t right for all situations. The most we can make a business pay you is £150,000.

If you think your complaint involves more than that, it might be better for you to go to court.

If you disagree with the ombudsman’s final decision, you can still take your complaint to court.

The court’s answer might be different to ours.

Our involvement ends once an ombudsman has made a final decision.

I run a small business – can you help me?

We can look at complaints from smaller businesses with:

  • an annual turnover of up to two million euros (a limit set under European Union law) and
  • fewer than ten employees.

If you get in touch, we’ll let you know if we can help.

can you fine businesses?

We’re not here to punish or fine businesses.

We’ll look into what happened to you. If the business has done something wrong, we’ll make sure you're not out of pocket.

We tell the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), what we’re seeing. The FCA sets the rules that businesses follow. It can fine businesses that break the rules.

This is only a general guide. The rules we follow can be complicated but we’ll explain if any apply to you..

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We can sort out complaints about money businesses


Phone us to see if we can help
0800 023 4567

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Phone us if you need information in large print, on tape or CD or in your own language

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We will help you and the business sort things out