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ombudsman news

issue 35

February/March 2004

about this issue

Disputes involving mortgages dominate this edition of ombudsman news. We highlight some of the small but increasing number of mortgage endowment mis-selling disputes we are seeing where, because the underlying situation is far from straightforward, firms have been unsure exactly how to calculate the correct compensation. We outline some of these complex scenarios and clarify the approach that firms should take.

We look, too, at some recent disputes involving repayment mortgages. These illustrate the kind of problems that can occur when the lender extends the original "term" (or length) of the mortgage, apparently without the borrowers' knowledge or agreement. Since mortgage lending is usually repaid over a long period, it can be some years before the problem is discovered. Borrowers may then get a particularly nasty surprise if they find they are nowhere near as far along the road to paying off their mortgage as they expected.

A different type of nasty surprise can await some policyholders when they put in a claim for personal possessions that are lost, stolen or destroyed while temporarily removed from the home. We highlight some recent insurance disputes where the policyholders assumed they were covered for such eventualities - but their insurers told them otherwise.

Finally, "how satisfied are you with our service-" That's what we asked a broad cross-section of financial firms in a recent survey. In this edition we present some initial findigns, based on what they told us.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news issue 35 [PDF format]

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.