How to make a complaint about your financial services provider

If you're making a complaint against a financial services provider, you’ll get further if you follow these three steps.

946_MW_P22_Per-Fin

If you're complaining about a financial services provider, you'll get further if you follow these three steps.

Most of us would like to have as little as possible to do with financial services companies, whether banks, insurers or pension providers. But if you reach a stage where you need to make a complaint about a service or product, you need to know how best to go about it.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

As with most situations where you want to make a formal complaint, your first step must be to contact the firm directly. Before you do so, make sure you have an idea of what you're looking to get out of the situation. Is your ultimate aim to receive financial compensation? Or are you merely looking for an acknowledgement that they have mishandled your case in some way?

Ideally, your first complaint should be by letter, or at least by email, so that you have a record of your correspondence from the very beginning. The industry regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), must respond to you, in writing, within eight weeks. (You can check a register of regulated financial-services companies on the FCA's website.) Their reply must detail whether your complaint has been successful, or alternatively why they will require more time to lookinto it.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

If you don't get a response within eight weeks, or you're not happy with their answer, you can then go to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). This is a free and independent service specifically geared towards resolving disputes between customers and financial services companies.

The FOS will get in touch with the company to ask them for their side of the story, and then it will decide whether or not to uphold your complaint. Note that you must contact the FOS within six months of receiving a final response from the company, or it may not be able to deal with your complaint, as the FCA points out.

Lawyers are a last resort

Independent Assessor

Finally, the last port of call would be to take legal action though this is only an option if you reject the ombudsman's decision. If you accept it, then the decision is legally binding.

Note that there are companies who will pursue claims on your behalf, but such help comes at a cost, so you should carefully consider whether the potential benefit outweighs the expense.

Even if you go down the "no win, no fee" route, this could end up taking a significant chunk out ofany compensation youare awarded.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/520306/self-assessment-dont-miss-the-deadline-for-online-tax-returns
Personal finance

Self-assessment: don’t miss the deadline for online tax returns

If you are self-employed, rent out a property or earn income from savings, investments and dividends, you need to fill in a tax return. And the deadli…
13 Jan 2020
Visit/520304/new-year-new-you-resolve-to-get-your-finances-in-order
Personal finance

New year, new you: resolve to get your finances in order

For most of us, the New Year heralds plans to get fit, eat better and generally be a better human. But have you thought about what you could do to imp…
13 Jan 2020
Visit/520338/how-much-the-state-pension-will-rise-by-this-year
Personal finance

How much the state pension will rise by this year

While Boris Johnson promised to hold a full budget within 100 days of his election victory, many of the details of next year’s state pension increases…
10 Jan 2020
Visit/519421/pensions-vanguard-sparks-a-sipp-price-war
Personal finance

Pensions: Vanguard sparks a Sipp price war

Fund giant Vanguard is poised to shake up the Sipp market with the cheapest offering on record.
17 Dec 2019

Most Popular

Visit/520525/currency-corner-how-high-can-the-pound-go-against-the-euro-in-2020
Currencies

Currency Corner: how high can the pound go against the euro in 2020?

In the month in which we should finally leave the European Union, Dominic Frisby takes a look at the pound vs the euro and asks just how high sterling…
13 Jan 2020
Visit/520553/money-minute-wednesday-15-january
Economy

Money Minute Wednesday 15 January: UK inflation and house prices

In today’s Money Minute, we look ahead to the latest UK inflation and house price figures, plus we have Germany’s GDP data for 2019.
15 Jan 2020
Visit/520598/money-minute-thursday-16-january-a-batch-of-company-results
Economy

Money Minute Thursday 16 January: a batch of company results

Today's Money Minute looks ahead to results from a host of UK companies, plus the latest unemployment figures from the US.
15 Jan 2020
Visit/economy/600632/money-minute-friday-17-january-uk-weakness-likely-to-continue
Economy

Money Minute Friday 17 January: UK weakness likely to continue

Today's Money Minute previews UK retail sales figures the UK, inflation data from Europe and industrial production from the US.
17 Jan 2020