What to expect once you’ve brought your complaint to us.
- ask the financial business you’re complaining about for their side of the story
- weigh up the facts of what’s happened, fairly and impartially
- tell both sides what we think
If we think there’s just been a misunderstanding – or your business hasn’t lost out – we’ll explain why. But if we decide you’ve been treated unfairly, we’ll tell the financial business to put things right. We’re able to resolve most complaints this way.
When you get in touch with us your complaint may be taken on by a investigator there and then. Other times we’ll need to find the right person for your complaint, and they’ll get in touch when they’re ready to start looking into it. Either way, the investigator will introduce themselves and ask you for anything important that you haven’t already given us – such as a copy of the final response the financial business sent to you about your complaint.
The investigator will also get in touch with the business you’re complaining about – either to get their side of the story, or to give them a chance to look at your complaint if they haven’t already.
After we’ve heard from the financial business, we’ll look at all the information we have. We might request more details from either side, or you may want to give us more information to look at.
How we'll communicate with you
We usually sort things out over the phone and in writing – so we won’t usually ask you to discuss your complaint face to face. We will be clear and straightforward in the way we communicate and we won’t use jargon.
We can also communicate with you using things like large text, Braille, British Sign Language or Next Generation Text. Find out more about how we make our service accessible to customers with additional needs.
We’ll keep you updated about your case while we’re looking into things, and you can get in touch with us at any point if you have any questions.
Telling you what we think
When we’ve reviewed everything both sides have told us, we’ll let you know whether we think the business you’ve complained about treated you fairly or not. We’ll always explain the reasons behind our view. If we think the business treated you unfairly, we’ll say what they need to do to put things right.
Both sides have a chance to agree or disagree with what we’ve recommended. At this point, if both sides agree with what we’ve said, the matter is settled. Most of the cases we see are resolved at this stage.
If you disagree with what we said – and have more information that you think will change our view – let us know. We may change our view, or it might stay the same – we’ll tell you why either way.
Taking your complaint further
If you or the financial business you’ve complained about don’t want to accept what we’ve said, either side can ask for the case to be referred to an ombudsman.
The ombudsman will then look at all the details of your complaint, and make a final decision.
If you accept the ombudsman’s decision, the business you’ve complained about has to do what the ombudsman has told them to. This might, for example, include the financial business paying your business compensation.
If you don’t want to accept the ombudsman’s decision you don’t have to. But it does mean our involvement has come to an end and the the final decision will not be binding. You can still take your complaint to court. Because the courts take a different approach, their answer might be different to ours.
How long it takes
We look at each case individually, so how long it takes to sort out your complaint depends on how complex it is – and how long it takes to get all the information we need. It will also take longer if you or the business don’t agree with our initial assessment, and want an ombudsman to make a formal, final decision.
You can find up-to-date information on our general timescales – including how long it’ll be before we’re able to let you know we’ve received your complaint – on our ‘how long it takes’ page.
Putting things right
If we decide a financial business has treated your business unfairly, we’ll tell them what they should do to put things right. Sometimes this is simply a case of getting the financial business to correct their mistake – for instance, if they’ve cancelled your insurance policy unfairly we might tell them to reinstate it.
Sometimes we’ll ask the financial business to pay you compensation. This may be because we think your business lost out financially as a result of something they did wrong.
Read more about our approach to calculating compensation.
If you're unhappy with our service
We want to give you the best possible level of customer service, whatever the outcome of your complaint. But if you’re not happy with the way we’ve handled your case, you can complain.
Find out how to complain about the service we've given you.