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Complaints We Can Help With

Financial service providers covered

CIFO covers complaints about the following types of financial services provided in/from the Channel Islands:

  • Deposit-taking, as provided by:
    • regulated banks; and
    • other deposit-takers that are excluded from the requirement to take out a banking licence.
  • Credit, as provided by:
    • lenders;
    • credit brokers whose principal business is financial services;
    • credit reference agencies, debt collectors and debt administrators; and
    • debt-adjusters and debt-counsellors (excluding advice that is free or from a charity).
  • Money services, as provided by:
    • bureaux de change;
    • cheque cashers; and
    • money transmission providers.
  • Insurance, as provided by:
    • regulated insurance companies;
    • other insurers that are excluded for the requirement to take out an insurance licence; and
    • insurance intermediaries.
  • Investments, as provided by:
    • investment dealers;
    • investment intermediaries; and
    • managers and other functionaries of recognised funds in Jersey and class A funds in Guernsey.
  • Pensions, as provided by:
    • pension providers;
    • pension intermediaries; and
    • pension managers.

Complaints Covered

CIFO covers complaints from the following:

  • individual consumers (whether or not they are in the Channel Islands);
  • micro-enterprises (whether or not they are in the Channel Islands); and
  • Channel Islands charities with annual income under £2 million.

A micro-enterprise (this definition is based upon European Commission’s Small and Medium Enterprises user guide) is a small business or economic enterprise (including a sole trader, partnership, or company) that:

  • engages in economic activity (any activity consisting in the offering of goods or services on a given market for remuneration or financial interest is considered an economic activity);
  • employs fewer than 10 people; and
  • does not have a yearly turnover or balance sheet of more than €2 million.

The complainant must also have a relationship with the financial service provider (FSP):

  • as a customer;
  • as a prospective customer; or
  • that is sufficiently close, as specified in guidance issued by the ombudsman.

Time limits

CIFO can only accept a complaint:

  • within 6 years from the act/omission that led to the complaint; or,
  • within 2 years of when the complainant became aware, or reasonably ought to have become aware of an act/omission that led to the complaint; and,
  • where the act/omission occurred on or after 1 January 2010 (in Jersey) or 2 July 2013 (in Guernsey).

Note: CIFO cannot review any act/omission that led to a complaint if that act/omission occurred prior to 1 January 2010 (in Jersey) or 2 July 2013 (in Guernsey).

The complainant must also refer the complaint to CIFO within 6 months of receiving the FSP’s decision on the complaint if the FSP met certain conditions in handling the complaint, including telling the complainant about CIFO and the 6-month time limit.

The ombudsman can waive the time limits in special cases (for example, where the complainant was delayed by illness).