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ombudsman news

issue 135

August 2016

A few people at our community centre have been having difficulties registering a power of attorney with their bank. How can I help them sort things out? It so often seems to be a question of "computer says no".

Seeing someone lose mental capacity is likely to be upsetting in itself. And practical barriers to helping them manage their affairs clearly won’t make things any easier.

To protect their customers’ money, it’s only right that businesses will need to have certain procedures and safeguards in place. But equally, we’d expect businesses to identify and respond to difficult circumstances - and to avoid unreasonable bureaucracy. To help banks and their customers minimise inconvenience and stress, we’ve shared some tips on our website based on the kinds of problems we see. We’ve also explained how we can help if things go wrong.

If you’d like to talk through a specific situation, you can phone our free helpline for businesses and people representing consumers on 020 7964 1400.

My son is heading to university in a few weeks - and I'm worried he doesn't know much about finance. Do you have any tips to watch out for based on the complaints you see from young people?

Being in control of your finances for the first time can be a daunting experience - whether it’s opening a new account, managing income, or keeping up with bills.

As our latest annual review shows, just 1% of the complaints we received last year were brought by people under 25. While that might simply be because younger people haven’t yet used many financial products or services, our research suggests they’re also relatively less likely to know about their consumer rights - including the ombudsman. So wise words from people with more experience - such as sharing what we do and how we can help - can be very helpful in case something does go wrong.

Over the past year, we’ve heard from young people with a range of financial problems - from opening student accounts to insurance claims for stolen phones. You can find case studies on specific problems we’ve helped to resolve involving younger people in our September 2015 edition of ombudsman news. And we’ve also shared helpful tips through social media and student publications like the gap travel guide.

ombudsman news

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.