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ombudsman news

issue 82

December 2009/January 2010

ombudsman news "Q&A" page

featuring questions that businesses and advice workers have raised recently with the ombudsman's technical advice desk - our free, expert service for professional complaints-handlers.

Can you tell me more about your technical advice desk - and the questions you are asked most often-

The technical advice desk is a free resource for businesses covered by the ombudsman service and for advice workers (Trading Standards, Citizens Advice etc).

As well as giving an informal steer on how the ombudsman might view particular complaints, our technical advice desk explains how the ombudsman service works and helps these professional complaints-handlers to find the information they need about the ombudsman service.

The technical advice desk handles over 300 enquiries a week - 71% of them from financial businesses and 29% from professionals who provide free support and advice to consumers.

The businesses that contact the desk most regularly are general insurers, banks and financial advisers. Over the last few months, the ten most frequently-received enquiries have been about:

  • the complaints-handling rules for financial businesses (FSA's 'DISP' rules)
  • the ombudsman process
  • the rules on our 'jurisdiction' (what we do and don't cover)
  • our approach to complaints involving insurance claims for stolen vehicles
  • complaints about the sale of payment protection insurance (PPI)
  • disputes about repairs to damaged vehicles
  • problems involving mortgage and loan applications
  • complaints about administration relating to insurance claims
  • complaints about theft and household insurance
  • debt and financial hardship.

The technical advice desk can be contacted on 020 7964 1400 (10.00am to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday) or

In issue 80 (October/November 2009), your chief ombudsman described surges of complaints relating to just a few financial products. Can you provide more information about this-

Since the Financial Ombudsman Service was formed in April 2000, half of our workload has related to just six areas of work. These six areas - listed below - have involved 456,406 individual complaints - out of 901,476 cases that we received in total over the last nine and a half years.

area of complaint number of cases since April 2000 peak year for these complaints
mortgage endowments 297,233 2004 - 2006
dual variable-rate mortgages
7,076 2003 - 2004
split-capital investment trusts ('splits')
2003 - 2004
bank charges 46,139 2007 - 2008
credit-card charges 31,325 2008 - 2009
payment protection insurance (PPI) 69,587
2008 - 2009
all other financial products and services
total 901,476  
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For printed copies of this or any of our publications, phone 020 7964 0092 or email publications.

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.