When we receive a complaint about your financial services business, we’ll ask you to look at it if you haven’t already had a reasonable opportunity to do so. Once you have given your customer your final response to their complaint, or the three-month time-frame to provide a final response has passed, we will review the customer’s complaint.
A financial service provider’s “Final Response” is your written response to your customer’s complaint and should include the following:
- a summary of the complaint;
- an acknowledgement of any errors that may have been made;
- a confirmation that you accept/uphold the complaint, with details regarding any proposed compensation or action to resolve the complaint, and explanation of why and how you came to that decision; or
- a confirmation that you do not accept/uphold the complaint, with details explaining your reasons;
- a notification to the customer that they have the right to refer their complaint to CIFO providing our contact details and a warning of the six-month time limit to do so from the date of your final response.
We will check whether the customer’s complaint falls within our statutory mandate and, if so, ask you for your file information to enable our office to review the complaint. One of our adjudicators will review the information provided and reach a conclusion based on what they think is fair and reasonable in the specific circumstances of the complaint.
If you or the complainant disagree with the case handler’s conclusion, either of you can ask for a final decision from an ombudsman. This is a written decision sent to both the complainant and the financial service provider. It requests that the complainant confirm by a specified date whether they reject or accept the ombudsman’s final decision. If the complainant accepts the ombudsman’s final decision, it becomes legally binding on both parties. If the complainant rejects the ombudsman’s final decision, they are free to pursue the matter through other means, including the courts. The ombudsman can award compensation, payable by the financial service provider up to a maximum of £150,000.