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ombudsman news

issue 49

September/October 2005

ask ombudsman news

electronic consumer leaflet for internet customers- an internet-based banking firm emails ...

We are an internet bank and would like to know whether – if we receive any customer complaints – we would still have to send customers the printed, hard copy version of your consumer leaflet, your complaint and the ombudsman, even though any complaints would be made to us via email. Would it be possible for us to send these customers an electronic version instead-

Firms like yours – where all your business is conducted electronically and any customer complaints are made only by email – may find it easier to send customers a link to the web version of our consumer leaflet, available on our website. We recommend using the link because sending the leaflet as an electronic attachment may not be practical – your customer might not have the software necessary to open and read the document.

Firms whose operations are not solely internet-based should continue to use the official hard copy version of the leaflet, which should be posted to the customer with the final response letter. Details of how to order supplies of the leaflet are on the publications pages of our website, while the technical briefing pages include our briefing note, Telling your customers about the Financial Ombudsman Service, which gives information about firms’ use of the leaflet.

dealing with complaints where the customer was given "basic advice" an IFA writes …

How will the ombudsman service deal with complaints about the sale of a stakeholder product through the basic advice process-

We will assess the complaint on the understanding that the customer received basic advice. We will not, for instance, expect the adviser to have completed a factfind, nor to have made detailed enquiries in order to know the customer.

We are already used to dealing with many complaints about products where there are no suitability or know your customer requirements. In such cases – so long as customers are not misled – we expect them to be responsible for their own choice. As with complaints about other products, we will take FSA rules and guidance into account. We will also look at good industry practice.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news issue 49 [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.