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ombudsman news

issue 22

November 2002

about this issue

We begin this issue with a round-up of some of the investment cases we have dealt with recently, including several examples of the mortgage mis-selling complaints that continue to reach us in large numbers. Other cases we feature range from a complaint about a firm losing a customer's wedding certificate, to a dispute over the deduction of an early retirement penalty from the compensation a firm paid for mis-selling a personal pension.

Turning to banking matters, this issue looks at some of the difficulties that can arise when transferring money abroad - far less straightforward a process than many people assume. When things go wrong, the problem often arises from situations over which the bank arranging the transfer has no control. So it is understandable that banks should wish to limit their contractual liabilities for these transactions. However, we highlight a recent instance of a firm limiting its liability to the extent that we felt it was treating the customer unfairly.

Other banking case studies in this issue of ombudsman news include a problem with internet banking, a firm's failure to cancel a cheque book, disputed transfers from the account of an elderly customer who was frail and confused, and a husband who forged his wife's signature on a cheque.

It is perhaps no surprise that motor insurance features prominently in our caseload, accounting for about a quarter of all the insurance cases we receive. In this issue we look at one of the most frequent causes of dispute - vehicle valuation. We also provide case studies to illustrate some of the complaints that reach us on this topic.

Finally, as regular readers know, we focus from time to time on aspects of our complaints-handling procedure. Many firms tell us this gives them a better understanding of what we do and of the important part they can play in helping us resolve complaints as quickly and as fairly as we can. This month we provide a brief outline of "view letters" - a part of our process with which banks and building societies, in particular, may be unfamiliar.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

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.