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ombudsman news

issue 69

April / May 2008

ask ombudsman news

figures and fees

Have there been any changes to the forecasts you made earlier this year for your budget in 2008/09-

building society compliance manager

In January this year we consulted on our proposed budget for the 2008/09 financial year. Feedback from the financial services industry indicated an increase in banking and insurance-related disputes. We have therefore revised our forecast for the number of new complaints we expect to receive in 2008/09 - and this figure has now risen from 72,000 to 90,000.

The number of cases we expect to settle and close in this financial year will also increase - to 111,000 from our initial estimate of 84,000.

In response to the likely increase in new complaints, our total budget for 2008/09 is now forecast to rise to £59.9m. But because we expect to settle a larger number of cases - leading to increased income from case fees - the total amount of levy paid by the financial services industry will fall to £19m in 2008/09, from the initially proposed £21.7m.

Although the case fee for 2008/09 will increase to £450, we're increasing the number of "free" cases from two to three. That means that businesses will be charged only for the fourth (and any subsequent) complaint made against them, so fewer than one in ten of the businesses we cover should have to pay a case fee.

Our revised budget has now been approved - in line with statutory requirements - by the boards of both the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

contacting customers while their complaint is with the ombudsman

The ombudsman service is currently looking into a complaint made by one of our customers. Can we contact our customer about his loan or do we have to wait until you have finished dealing with the complaint-

a debt-collecting agency

While we are considering a complaint, you should continue to deal with your customer as normal - for example, handling their account or dealing with any separate administration work. But if anything you are planning to do is relevant to the complaint, you should let us know before you do it.

You should not take any legal action against the consumer in connection with the subject matter of the complaint. And we recommend that you wait until our consideration of the complaint is completed before you take any related legal action (such as proceedings for recovery of a debt, where that is not the focus of the complaint). If you are proposing to take action like this you should get in touch with us first and tell us about it.

the Hunt Review

Where can we get hold of a copy of Lord Hunt of Wirral's recent report about the ombudsman service-

a business library asks ...

You can download the report from the Hunt review website or from the news page of our website (

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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.