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ombudsman news

issue 110

June/July 2013

Q&As

no ads - no promises

Every day I see adverts on TV for claims companies about mis-sold PPI. I've been getting text messages and calls about it too. If the ombudsman wants people to know that they can make a complaint themselves for free, why don't you advertise in the same way?

The ombudsman service looks at each problem individually. We make decisions based on the individual facts and circumstances of a complaint. We "uphold" some complaints, but where we decide that the business hasn't done anything wrong, we explain that to the consumer.

There is no guaranteed outcome - so it would be wrong for us to advertise in a way that made consumers think that they'll definitely "win" their complaint.

However, we do lots of different things to spread the word about how we can help. Whether it's through our pages on Twitter and Facebook, posters on buses or meeting people face-to-face at events, we are working hard to let people know that when it comes to PPI complaints, you can do it yourself. And it won't affect the outcome at all.

paper trail

I'm a retired IFA and my business closed several years ago. Yesterday I received a letter from a claims management company saying that I mis-sold one of my clients a PPI policy in summer 2005. I know I've done nothing wrong, but I destroyed most of my files when my business shut down. Can the ombudsman service consider this complaint - and will I be penalised because I have very little documentary evidence to defend myself?

Even though your business is no longer running, we may be able to investigate a complaint about activities that you carried out in the past. And because you were authorised by the Financial Services Authority to sell a regulated product, this complaint is likely to fall within our jurisdiction - so we probably can look into it.

However, we will consider the complaint impartially - and we won't automatically decide that you did something wrong just because you don't have a full file.

As well as considering any information that you do still have, we will also ask the claims manager for the consumer's side of the story. Evidence might include signed documents, verbal statements or notes made by either party during the sale.

It might also be helpful for you to show us copies of your standard terms and conditions, although any documents relating specifically to this particular sale will of course be the most relevant.

If this is the first complaint you have received you might want to have a look at our quick guide for businesses. Our online PPI resource also gives more detail about how we approach this type of complaint. And for general queries about the complaints process or how we work you can always call our technical advice desk on 020 7964 1400.

image: ombudsman news issue 110

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.