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ombudsman news

issue 40

September/October 2004

ask ombudsman news

telling customers about complaints and the ombudsman

My firm is about to be covered by the ombudsman service for the first time. Are there any rules we need to follow when we tell customers about how we deal with complaints - and about the ombudsman service-

Firms regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) have to comply with a set of complaints-handling rules - set out by the FSA in its handbook, in a section called "dispute resolution: complaints".

If you look in the publications section on this website- you'll find a technical briefing note for firms - telling your customers about the Financial Ombudsman Service. This briefing note outlines, among other things, what you have to tell your customers about the ombudsman service and how you can obtain copies of the leaflet you need to send consumers at the appropriate stage of the complaints procedure.

what should our notice say-

Can you help, please- I am aware that my firm is required to put up a notice in our branches/sales offices to show we are covered by the ombudsman service. However, I'm not sure quite what the notice should say, or what it should look like.

The FSA's rules require firms to display a notice in their branches or sales offices, showing that they are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service [rule reference DISP 1.2.9(3)]. This rule does not prescribe the format, size or wording of the notice, so firms have the scope to produce the notice in their own house style, to fit in with their own marketing.

A number of firms have chosen to show they are covered by the ombudsman service by displaying a Financial Ombudsman Service window sticker in their offices. The technical briefing note, "telling your customers about the Financial Ombudsman Service", mentioned in our reply to the previous question, tells you more about the window stickers and how to obtain them.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news issue 40 [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.