For consumers

Complaints we can help with

An introduction to the role of the Financial Ombudsman Service, the complaints we can help with and how to make a complaint.

We’re a free service set up by Parliament to resolve complaints about financial businesses, for example banks or insurance companies. If we decide you’ve been treated unfairly, we have the power to put things right.

To get an idea of whether your complaint is something we can help with before you send it to us, we’ll ask you some questions about some of the things we need to know upfront before you send us a complaint. You can do this online, using our complaint checker. If your complaint sounds like something we can help with, it will tell you how to make a new complaint using our online form. Or read through the information on this page first, to find out more about us and our role.


Make a complaint

  • Complaints we can’t help with

    There may be some occasions where we can’t help with a complaint.

    Sometimes we can’t help because your complaint should be dealt with by a different organisation. Or certain time limits might affect whether we can or can't help. There may be other reasons – for example, we won’t usually look into a problem that’s been decided by a court, or one that we’ve looked at already. 

    Read more about complaints we can't help with

  • Who can complain?

    We can help a range of people with a complaint, about financial products or services. Broadly we can look at complaints from individual customers, micro-enterprises and small businesses, and some charities and trusts.

    Generally, we can help with complaints about businesses that provide retail financial products and services in or from the UK. It doesn’t matter what your nationality is or where you live.

    Our service is free and easy-to-use. You don’t need to pay anyone to represent you, for example a lawyer or claims management company (CMC). But if you want to, you can ask a member of your family, a friend or someone else to help you with your complaint.

    Read more about who we can help

  • Time limits

    Time limits apply when making a complaint. So it’s best to take action as soon as you realise there’s a problem.

    We might not be able to help if:

    • what you’re complaining about happened more than 6 years ago, and
    • you complain more than 3 years from when you became aware (or should have become aware) that you had a reason to complain.
    • and you’ll need to contact us within 6 months of the business’s final response.

    Read more about time limits that apply

  • How do I make a complaint?

    You need to contact the financial business you want to complain about first, and give them a chance to resolve things, before submitting your complaint to us. You need to tell them what's happened and how you want the problem put right. If you haven't done that yet, read our step by step guide to complaining

    The financial business has to give their final response to your complaint within 8 weeks at the most, depending on what you’re complaining about.

    If you’re not happy with their response, or the business doesn't reply in time, you can bring your complaint to us. We’ll check it’s something we can deal with by asking a few questions about what happened, and if we think we can help we'll ask you to send us the details and we'll investigate.

    Read more about how to complain
    Or make a new complaint online

Financial Ombudsman Service for small businesses

Are you a small business?

If you’re a small business (SME) and want to make a complaint to us, go to our dedicated small business website for more information about how we can help.

Claims Management Ombudsman - a Financial Ombudsman Service

Need help with a claims management dispute?

We can also help with complaints about claims management companies (CMCs). If you have a complaint, or you’re a CMC dealing with a complaint, go to the Claims Management Ombudsman website for more information.