What is gambling-related harm?
Many people enjoy gambling as a form of entertainment and do so without experiencing harm. But if someone’s gambling becomes an uncontrollable habit or an addiction, then it can cause significant harm to the individual and those around them, negatively impacting mental and physical health, relationships, and finances.
Types of complaint we see
We have been contacted by people when gambling-related harm has impacted them and their financial situation, and they think a financial business could have done more to help or step in. Sometimes, they feel the financial business did something wrong and they've lost out as a result.
People have come to us saying:
- I was given a loan or credit when it should have been obvious to the financial business that this was unaffordable due to my gambling habit. They acted irresponsibly in lending to me and I’m now struggling to repay the debt.
- I told the financial business about problems I was facing with my spending on gambling, but they didn’t offer enough, or any, support. I think they should have done more to help.
- I asked the bank to place a block on my account – designed to prevent me making payments to merchants who have been categorised as offering services related to gambling. But the block didn’t work properly, and it didn’t stop me being able to pay certain merchants who were not correctly categorised.
What you can expect
We handle complaints with discretion, tact, and can accept evidence in confidence. When you bring a complaint to us, we’ll talk to you about our process and any evidence we may need to see, depending on what your complaint is about. We’ll explain why we’re asking for information and give you time to provide it.
We’ll ask you to tell us about what has happened, and the effect you feel it’s had on your life. We’ll also ask what you think will help to resolve your complaint, as well as details about the business you’re unhappy with.
If you can, please try to keep any relevant evidence that will help us understand what’s happened. This could be things like letters, statements, and notes; and you can send copies of these rather than the originals if that helps.
What we look at
We’ll think about whether the financial business did everything it was required to do, and if it didn’t, whether you’ve lost out as a result.
In doing so we’ll consider relevant law and regulation, regulators’ rules, guidance and standards, codes of practice, and what we consider to be good industry practice at the time. We’ll then decide overall what a fair and reasonable outcome to your complaint is.
The Financial Conduct Authority expects financial businesses to take particular care to ensure vulnerable customers are treated fairly. We’ll consider whether the financial business was aware, or ought to have been aware, that their customer was vulnerable, and what support they offered or put in place.
Putting things right
If we find you have been treated unfairly by a financial business, we’ll ask them to put things right.
What this involves will depend on the nature and type of complaint. It might include, for example, asking the business to put things right by paying you compensation for financial loss or making changes to a credit file. We could tell the business to do things differently for you in the future. And, where appropriate, we can also tell the business to pay compensation for distress or inconvenience it has caused.
Read more about our approach to compensation.
How to complain
The first thing you need to do is complain to the financial business about what’s happened. They should look into things and reply within 8 weeks. If you’re not happy with their response, or they don’t get back to you within 8 weeks, you can bring your complaint to us.
We’ll check it’s something we can deal with, and if it is, we’ll investigate. In some circumstances, we can get involved sooner than that – but it depends on what the complaint is about and which business you’re unhappy with.
Bringing a complaint to us is free and we try and keep things straightforward and informal. But if you’d rather not tell us some things direct – perhaps because they’re difficult to talk about – you can ask a friend, family member or someone like a support worker to help you with the complaint and talk to us on your behalf.
Find out more about how to complain.
How long it takes
We publish general detail about when you can expect to hear from us as we deal with your complaint. If there’s something about you or your complaint which makes things particularly urgent, let us know when you get in touch. Once your complaint is with an investigator, they will talk to you in more specific detail about timing and next steps.
A consumer complains her bank shouldn’t have lent to her, as doing so fed her gambling addiction and left her in debt
Gambling Credit and borrowing money
Consumer asked for our help as they had several debts with lenders due to heavy gambling
Credit and borrowing money Gambling
Consumer complains their bank acted irresponsibly after they made a high volume of gambling transactions
Gambling Distress and inconvenience Credit and borrowing money Up to £750
Consumer asked for our help as they ran up credit card debt from gambling during a period of ill health
Credit and borrowing money Gambling
If you need support and advice with gambling-related harm, one of the following organisations may be able to help:
- Citizens Advice – information on getting help with gambling-related harm
- National Health Service (NHS) – information on getting help with gambling-related harm
- GamCare – help for gambling-related harm
Information for businesses
If you’re a financial business looking for information to help you resolve complaints, you can read more about this in our dedicated information about our approach to complaints involving gambling-related harm.