How we can help put things right if a financial business has made a mistake or treated you unfairly.
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Financial businesses can find out more about our approach to awards for financial loss, or to awards for distress or inconvenience in our pages about understanding compensation.
If a business has made a mistake or treated you unfairly and you’ve lost out as a result, we have the power to put things right. Usually, we’ll tell the business to put you back in the position you’d be in if they hadn’t got things wrong.
There are a number of things we can tell a business to do to put things right. These include:
- paying you money for financial loss
- putting things right in a way that doesn’t involve paying money
- paying you money to recognise the impact of what went wrong
We can also tell a business to pay interest on our awards, and in rare circumstances, pay costs.
Compensation for financial loss
Where you’ve lost out financially, we can tell the business to pay you money directly to put things right. That might mean awarding you a specific amount, or telling the business how to calculate the amount you should receive.
There is a limit to how much we can tell a business to pay. But we can recommend that they pay you more if we think it’s fair. If we think your compensation might be over this limit, we’ll get in touch about what that means for you.
Find out more about how we can award compensation for financial loss.
Compensation for distress or inconvenience
A business’s mistake can affect you practically or emotionally, not just financially. For this reason, the rules we follow say that we can award fair compensation to recognise other types of impact, for example the distress, inconvenience or other practical problems caused by the dispute.
Find out more about when we award compensation for distress or inconvenience and other types of non-financial loss.
The limits that apply
- £355,000 for complaints referred to us on or after 1 April 2020 about acts or omissions by firms on or after 1 April 2019
- £350,000 for complaints referred to us between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020 about acts or omissions by firms on or after 1 April 2019
- £160,000 for complaints about acts or omissions by firms before 1 April 2019, and which are referred to our service after that date
For complaints referred to us before 1 April 2019, our previous award limits apply
- £150,000 for any complaints referred to us before 1 April 2019
We might decide the business should also pay you interest on top of this compensation.
We expect the business to calculate the number of days you didn’t have the money, and apply 8% interest a year to the amount they refund you. We award interest at 8% simple for a few reasons, including because:
- it’s the current rate on judgment debts
- people often have to a pay higher rate than this if they’ve borrowed money to cover a loss – for example, on a credit card
If we think a different interest rate should be used, we’ll explain why.
The business will often have to take off tax from the interest award.
If you accept an ombudsman’s decision and the business doesn’t pay in the time specified in the decision, we can award additional interest until they make the payment.
Putting things right without paying money
We might decide a business needs to put things right in a way that doesn’t involve paying money. For example, amending your credit file, or directing the business to do something.
In some cases, the law requires the business to deduct income tax at the basic rate, whether or not you’re a taxpayer.
Find out more about how tax may apply.
Going to court to get compensation
If you accept an award made in an ombudsman's final decision, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to take the business to court for more compensation later. We can’t give you legal advice about this, so you’ll need to speak to get independent legal advice if that’s something you’re considering, before you accept any award.
There are time limits on taking a case to court, and these continue to run while we handle your case. Again, you should get independent legal advice if this is relevant to you.