There are time limits affecting whether we can or can’t help with a complaint.
The Financial Conduct Authority gave us the power to look at complaints from small businesses from 1 April 2019. Therefore, if you’re a small business, we can only look at your complaint if it relates to events that occurred on or after 1 April 2019. However, if you are a micro-enterprise, we can look at complaints relating to events going further back in time.
Find out more about the complaints we can help with.
How long you have to complain to a financial business
You usually need to complain to a financial business or to us within six years of the problem you’re complaining about.
If you haven’t done this, we can’t usually investigate the complaint unless you make your complaint within three years of becoming aware (or when you should reasonably have become aware) that you had cause to complain.
Time limits for a financial business to reply
A financial business has 15 days to consider complaints about:
- payment services – such as bank transfers or direct debits
- electronic money – for example, online money transfers
For most other complaints, the financial business has eight weeks to consider a complaint.
Before these time limits have passed, they should send you their final response.
What the final response should say
The final response should mention that you have the right to refer your complaint to us in the next six months.
If the final response doesn't mention the six-month time limit, then the response isn't valid and you can still complain to us after that.
The final response also needs to state whether the financial business agrees to us looking into the complaint if it’s referred to us after the six-month time limit runs out. If a business says they agree, they can't change their mind later on.
How long you have to complain to us after receiving the final response
You have six months from the date of the financial business’s final response letter to refer your complaint to us.
If you complain later than this, we usually won’t be able to help unless:
- the delay is due to exceptional circumstances
- the financial business didn’t send a valid final response
- the financial business agrees to us being involved after the six month time limit
If the financial business doesn’t agree to us investigating a late complaint, we'll look into what's happened and decide if we agree the complaint is out of time.
How to calculate when the six-month time limit ends
This six-month deadline starts from the date the financial business sends the final response. We then use calendar months to work out the end date.
So if they sent a final response on 7 May, you have until 7 November to refer the complaint to us.
If they sent a final response on 30 August then you have until 28 February to complain to us – since it’s not possible to have an end date of 30 February.