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ombudsman news

issue 28

May 2003

ask ombudsman news - your questions answered

speaking your language

I wonder if you are able to give any assistance to customers whose first language is not English- I am asking on behalf of my neighbour. He has been in dispute with his motor insurers for several months following a traffic accident. He speaks Urdu and although he can read some English, he is not at all confident about speaking it - particularly over the phone.Things are getting complicated now that the insurers are saying they won't accept his claim. Some of his family have been helping out by making calls for him, but this hasn't been very satisfactory. The whole situation is getting very frustrating for him. I don't really know enough to advise him what to do next.

Yes, we can help. We have sent you an Urdu version of our consumer leaflet to pass on to your neighbour. This explains how we can help with complaints about a wide range of financial services, including motor insurance.

And if your neighbour calls us on 0845 080 1800 we can get an interpreter on the line right away to help him discuss his complaint with one of our consumer advisers.

Our website includes versions of our consumer leaflet in Urdu and a number of other languages, as well as information about how we can help customers who have other specific needs.

time to pay-

Can you tell me when you will be sending my firm the invoice for the ombudsman service annual levy- Will we be able to pay in instalments-

We aim to have sent out all our invoices for the 2003/04 annual levy by the end of June this year. You can pay by cheque or by BACS (Bank Automated Clearing System). If your firm pays more than the minimum levy for any fee block, you can also opt to pay in quarterly instalments by direct debit.

You'll find a mandate for direct debit payments enclosed with your firm's invoice. If you qualify to pay in this way and wish to do so, simply complete the mandate and return it to us within 30 days of the date on the invoice.

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.