How we deal with your complaint

Important information about using our services

The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) provides a free service to complainants and there is no cost for bringing a complaint to the FSPO. Bringing a complaint to us is straightforward but if you choose to hire a solicitor or any other professional assistance to bring a complaint to the FSPO on your behalf, then any costs incurred for using these services are your responsibility.

In circumstances where a provider is directed to pay compensation to a complainant, following the formal investigation of a complaint, the compensation cannot be increased to account for the cost of any professional assistance used by a complainant. Complainants should be aware that costs charged as a percentage of any compensation will have the effect of reducing the compensation paid to them by the provider.

We will deal with your complaint informally at first by talking to you about your complaint and understanding it from your point of view and we will also talk to your provider.

We aim to help you to reach an agreement with your provider through mediation. Mediation is informal and totally confidential. It often takes place over the phone.

Possible outcomes of mediation are:

  • The complaint is resolved. You and your provider come to an agreement about your complaint.
  • Issues are clarified; the issues to do with the complaint are made clear and the complaint does not continue.
  • The complaint is not resolved and the complaint continues to a formal investigation

This is more formal and time-consuming for you and your provider. Therefore, we recommend that you actively take part in the informal complaint resolution.

During our formal investigation, we ask the provider for more information about your complaint. We may also ask you for further information. In most complaints, we will exchange all the information you submit with the provider and exchange the providers' submissions with you. This can take a considerable amount of time depending on the volume of paperwork you both submit.

Any issue about whether a complaint is within our remit, may also be dealt with at this stage.

We review all the information received during our investigation to help us to reach a decision on your complaint.

We make the decision on your complaint. This decision is legally binding, which means that it can be appealed only to the High Court.

If a complaint is upheld, substantially upheld or partially upheld by the Ombudsman, he may direct the provider to pay compensation to the consumer or he may direct the provider to rectify or correct the issue. If a complaint is rejected, no action will be directed by the Ombudsman.

The investigation of a complaint, leading to legally binding decision is a formal process. Nevertheless, we strive to keep our communications to the parties clear, using language that can be easily understood, in accordance with our Drafting Guidelines, which can be accessed using the tab on the top left of this page.

Either party to a complaint can appeal the Legally Binding Decision of this Office to the High Court, within 35 days of the decision. This is a statutory appeal and the orders that can be sought from the High Court are set out in s64 of the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Act 2017, as amended. It is important to be aware that pursuing an appeal to the High Court can have legal costs implications for the appellant.