Sort out a money problem or make a complaint

If you’re unhappy with the service you got from your bank, financial adviser or any other financial company, don’t put up with it. Try speaking with them first and explain the problem. They might sort it out there and then for you. If talking things through doesn’t work, there’s always a formal way to complain – and if your complaint is rejected, you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service. 

Key steps to take if you want to complain

Step 1 – talk to the firm that sold you the product or gave you the advice

Often you can sort out a complaint quickly just by talking to the firm.

Tell them why you’re unhappy and what you’d like them to do to make things right.

If they can’t give you a reasonable explanation of what’s wrong and don’t try to fix things, make a formal complaint in writing.  

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Step 2 – make a formal complaint

All financial firms should have a formal complaints procedure to follow when you complain.

It tells you:

  • who to talk to or write to
  • when to expect a reply, and what to do if you’re not satisfied with the answer you get.

You might be able to find their complaints procedure online – but if you can’t find it, ask for it.

If the complaints procedure involves something you’ve already done, like visiting your bank, make sure that the person you spoke to understands they need to treat your complaint formally.

Try to put everything in writing, rather than talking over the phone.

You might get a final decision within eight weeks, explaining exactly how the firm will deal with the problem. 

Step 3 – get an impartial decision

After making a formal complaint, if you think the firm’s answer is unreasonable or if you don’t hear from them within eight weeks, you have the right to take your complaint further.

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There are time limits for complaining to the Financial Ombudsman Service. You must complain:

  • within six months of the firm sending you their final response, and
  • within six years of the event you’re complaining about, or (if it’s more than six years) within three years of the time you might reasonably have known you had cause to complain.

Getting compensation if a firm goes bust

If you’ve lost money because a UK bank or financial firm has gone out of business, you might be able to claim compensation through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

  • the service is independent and free to use
  • there are limits on the amount of compensation that you can claim
  • it can help private individuals, some small businesses and all policyholders of compulsory insurance policies
  • it only applies to firms regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority (covers most financial firms).
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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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