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What is the Financial Ombudsman Service?

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We discuss what the Financial Ombudsman Service does, who it helps and why we deal with it every day.

What is the Financial Ombudsman Service?

The Financial Ombudsman Service, also known as FOS, is the body that handles financial disputes in the UK. It was set up by Parliament in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

The service deals with a vast number of financial issues, covering mortgages, pensions, PPI, loans, credit cards and banking, just to name a few.

In 2017/18, FOS handled 1,456,396 cases. That’s almost three per every minute in the year!

Who deals with the Financial Ombudsman Service?

The FOS was set up to be an informal alternative to litigation, removing a barrier that saw the everyday person opting not to go through expensive legal battles with bigger companies.

The FOS offers multi-million pound companies and the average consumer a fair playing ground when it comes to financial disputes. Thanks to the FOS, companies can no longer tie up smaller parties in expensive litigation until they run out of resources to fund the case.

How does the Financial Ombudsman Service work?

When submitting a complaint against a firm, the firm needs to be, or have been, a regulated company with regard to providing financial services in the UK. They also still need to be trading.

There are also some time limits involved. You must bring your complaint within six months of the complaint rejection by the company involved. It also must be within six years of the incident.

The FOS will review evidence you submit, contact the business in question and investigate the complaint. At any point you can contact them to request an update, and sometimes they will request further information from you.

Once an adjudicator makes a decision, if a party is not happy, it can be appealed to an Ombudsman who reviews the case to make a final decision.

How long does a Financial Ombudsman Service complaint take?

The time taken depends entirely on the nature of the case. Some are resolved in a few weeks, over half within three months and some take over a year.

This can come down to a number of factors such as legal complexity, but generally, cases are dealt with in the order they come in.

As a consumer-centric body, FOS can sometimes speed up cases where special circumstances are involved. This case can be made for vulnerable individuals or periods of severe financial hardship.

We submit claims to the Financial Ombudsman Service every day on behalf of our clients. For more information on how we can help you, get in touch with our team of legal experts.