‘What to expect during the Investigation process’ video transcript

The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman or FSPO resolves most complaints through mediation, in our Dispute Resolution Service. If you don’t reach a settlement with your provider through mediation, your complaint may be transferred to our formal investigation process.

We start the investigation by issuing a formal document to your provider, asking questions about the issues that have led to your complaint. We ask for certain documents and relevant audio evidence. We will make sure that both you and your provider receive a copy of all information submitted by both parties. However, any details of what happened during the FSPO’s mediation process will not be disclosed or be part of the investigation, because those details are confidential.

The investigation process is a detailed gathering and examination of all relevant evidence. Once this process begins it typically takes between 9 and 18 months depending on the complexity of the issues.

Once your complaint has been fully investigated, we will issue a preliminary decision. You and your provider will then have 15 working days to consider that preliminary decision. During that period, you and your provider can inform us if you believe that the decision is wrong, and the reasons why.

We will carefully consider and share any further submissions from you and your provider and then we will issue a legally binding decision.

The legally binding decision will set out whether your complaint is upheld, substantially upheld, partially upheld or not upheld. If your complaint is upheld, or substantially or partially upheld, the legally binding decision may direct your provider to pay compensation to you, or to fix or correct the issue.

Your provider must implement any direction set out in the legally binding decision, unless the decision is appealed to the High Court, by you or your provider, within a period of 35 days.

Bringing a complaint to us is straightforward and will not cost you anything. You do not need to hire a solicitor or any other professional assistance to handle your complaint, but if you choose to, then the costs of these services to you will be your responsibility and are not recoverable through the FSPO.