Under the legislation that established the Financial Ombudsman Service and gave us our powers, an ombudsman decision is final and binding on the business, if it is accepted by the consumer. Businesses are also required to co-operate with the ombudsman service in their dealings with us.
An ombudsman decision gives finality and certainty. It means that a dispute that has probably already lasted for many months - absorbing increasing amounts of senior management time and business resource - can be brought to an end, once and for all.
No dispute can be allowed to continue for ever - either at the ombudsman service or in the courts, to which we are an alternative process. The side that loses would often like to continue arguing their case indefinitely. But a line has to be drawn - and a final decision made - once we are satisfied that both parties have had sufficient opportunity to tell us their version of events.