skip tocontent

ombudsman news

issue 31

September 2003

ask ombudsman news - your questions answered

I've not kept records of sale - can I tell client I can't respond to her complaint-

I am an independent adviser. A client has complained that I mis-sold her mortgage endowment policy. It's over seven years since I advised her and I've got no records of the sale. I 'm only required to keep them for six years. I know that the life office concerned still has some details of the sale, but it won't help by sending me the information I need. Is it OK just to tell my client I no longer have any evidence, so can't respond to her complaint-

No. You cannot dismiss the complaint out of hand, just because you no longer have records of the sale. If you can't get the information you need from the life office, you should still be able to build up a picture of the factors that should have been taken into account at the time of the sale. These will include the customer's financial position and her plans for the future at that time. You will find the type of questions you may need to ask in our on-line mortgage endowment complaints assessment guide.

We do, of course, expect all firms to co-operate with each other in sharing information like this. After all, the firm from which you need information might - in turn - need information from you in future. This type of co-operation helps make the complaints process more efficient for everyone.

out of date ombudsmen-

I've been sent on a wild goose chase by the firm I've complained about. They told me to take my complaint to something called the "IOB" - which I now discover doesn't even exist. Can you help-

The Financial Ombudsman Service replaced several smaller complaints-handling schemes, including the Insurance Ombudsman Bureau (IOB). Firms should not be giving their customers information about the IOB - or about any of the other old schemes (such as the Banking Ombudsman) - because these bodies no longer exist.

By law, financial firms must tell their customers about the Financial Ombudsman Service - and provide a copy of our consumer leaflet, your complaint and the ombudsman - where appropriate. We're sorry to hear about the trouble you have been caused. If you let us have more details about the wrong information you were given, we will take up the matter with the firm involved - referring it to the industry regulator, the FSA, if necessary.

Firms should check all the information they give customers to make sure the ombudsman details they provide are correct and up to date. Firms wanting advice on what to tell customers about the ombudsman service should contact our technical advice desk on 020 7964 1400.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news issue 31 [PDF format]

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.