For consumers

Complaints we can’t help with

There may be some occasions when we can’t help with a complaint. This page explains.

  • Time limits – certain time limits may affect whether we can or can't help.
  • Type of complaint – we may not be the right organisation to investigate the type of complaint you have. 
  • Other reasons – 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.
  • Complaints for other organisations

    We can look at complaints about specific businesses and activities. Before we look at a complaint, we will need to check the details of the financial business you want to complain about.  We can usually help with complaints about most financial services firms authorised by the FCA. This includes payment service providers and e-money issuers. Some financial businesses volunteer to be covered by us.

    Sometimes we can’t help because your complaint should be dealt with by a different organisation. We publish a list that provides links to other complaint-handling organisations, and we outline the areas they cover. Where we can, we’ll try to signpost you to the organisation that can help with your complaint.

    Find out more

  • Complaints affected by a time limit

    Time limits affect whether we can look into a complaint. And before we can step in, you need to have complained to the financial business first, and given them some time to put things right.

    Read our guidance on time limits for complaints. It says how long you have to complain to a financial business and to us, and how long it should take for a business to reply.

    Find out more

  • Complaints about non-UK businesses

    Generally, we can look at most complaints about businesses that provides financial services in or from the UK. 

    For complaints about businesses based outside the UK, you may be able to get help from an equivalent complaints-handling body in that country.

    We have some information on our website about other organisations who may be able to help with complaints about a financial business outside the UK. 

    Find out more

  • Complaints that involve court action

    In some circumstances or situations we won’t look into a complaint because it isn’t appropriate for us to do so. For example, this might be where the subject matter of the complaint would be better dealt with by a court, or where court action is already ongoing.

    We publish some sample case studies that give further examples. We won’t usually look at a complaint we have already considered.

    We have published information on our website that gives further examples of when this might apply.

    Find out more

  • Our rules and powers

    Before investigating a complaint, we first need to decide whether or not we have the power to do so. (This means whether or not it is within our rules and jurisdiction to do so).

    Official rules set out the full detail of who we can and can’t help. The rules also give more detail about the reasons we might not be able to help that are mentioned on this page. 

    We can help a range of people with their complaints about financial products or services. In some cases, we might not be able to help if you’re not eligible to bring a complaint to our service, for example if you are a large business. 

    We also provide more detail about our powers and how we make decisions when you bring a complaint to our service.

    Find out more

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.