skip to content

ombudsman news

issue 132

March 2016

I'm confused about the upcoming change to the current so-called "next business day" rule. I understand I'll have three days to resolve complaints informally. But can customers really go to the ombudsman after that point? Or - if they're unhappy - do I then have eight weeks to review my answer?

Businesses currently have until the end of the next business day to resolve complaints informally - something that hasn't changed since we were set up. But from 30 June 2016, you'll have until the end of the third business day.

Just as before, you won't need to send a traditional "final response" at this stage. But from June, if you've resolved things to your customer's satisfaction by the end of the third business day, you will need to let them know that they can still refer their complaint to us - in a new "summary resolution communication". If on reflection they're unhappy with your answer, we can start looking into things straight away.

There will be more information about what you'll need to put in this type of "summary resolution communication" in the "DISP" section of the FCA's handbook.

A long-standing customer of mine has made a complaint. It's a complex matter and there are a lot of files involved. If they refer the complaint to you, what exactly should I send you? It's impractical to post it all - not to mention expensive.

We always try to resolve complaints as quickly and informally as possible. So it's unlikely you'll need to send us boxes of files, even if you've got a long history with this particular customer. If you're still looking into the complaint, you can phone our technical advice helpline on 020 7964 1400 to talk through how we'd approach it.

If things are already further along - and your customer does contact us - we'll give you a call (or send you an email if you'd prefer) so you can explain what's happened. Once we've heard more about the problem, we'll explain the specific things we'll need in order to sort it out.

In most cases, the information we ask for will be among the paperwork you've used to look into the complaint yourself. If we need anything else, we'll agree a reasonable timeframe for getting it back to us. We'll bear in mind that if you need to retrieve older information - or if third parties are involved - it may take slightly longer.

Even if there is a lot to send us, you don't need to post it. If you can scan it, get in touch and we can arrange for it to be sent securely.

ombudsman news

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.