How to use the Financial Ombudsman

Struggling to get a financial complaint resolved? The Financial Ombudsman exists to resolve the problem, one way or another – so here’s how to use the service.

Financial Ombudsman

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If you’ve got an issue with a financial services company such as your bank or building society – perhaps your mortgage lender has overcharged you, or you’ve been mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) – and you can’t sort it out with the company directly, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

Complaining to the Ombudsman

You can complain to the Ombudsman about any sort of problem you have with a financial company, including payday loans, bank accounts, insurance, annuities and warranties.

Here’s what you need to know if you have a grievance:

  • The first thing you have to do is complain direct to the financial company you’ve got a problem with – you can’t go to the Ombudsman till you’ve done this. 
  • But you can get tips from the Ombudsman on how to get started: You can call 0300 123 9 123 or 0800 023 4567 between 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. You can also email:
  • If the company involved doesn’t respond within eight weeks, or they reply but you’re not happy with their response, you can then involve the FOS. 
  • You can submit a complaint to the FOS by calling the numbers above. Alternatively, you can fill out a complaint form on the Ombudsman website at:  
  • Keep copies of any letters or e-mails you’ve written, plus a record of any calls you’ve had with the company you’re complaining about.
  • There is no charge to use the FOS. 

Will my complaint succeed?

There are no guarantees that the Ombudsman will decide you are in the right. Your case might not even turn into a formal dispute, as involving the Ombudsman might be enough to spur the company involved into action.

How long will my complaint take to be resolved?

The length of time it will take to sort out your problem depends entirely on how complicated the problem is and how long it takes to get all the relevant paperwork together about your case.

The Ombudsman says some complaints can be resolved within just a few weeks - and over half of cases within three months. But some disputes can take years to sort out and can be delayed by factors such as the complexity of the case and whether a resolution can be agreed quickly.

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