Tracker mortgage complaints and the FSPO

What is a tracker mortgage?

A tracker mortgage is a type of home loan where the interest charged on the loan varies in line with another publicly available interest rate, usually the rate set by the European Central Bank (ECB).

What is the tracker mortgage Examination?

In 2015, the Central Bank of Ireland carried out an industry-wide review of tracker mortgage accounts. The Central Bank developed a framework for lenders to review how the interest rates they charged on these accounts could affect customers with tracker mortgages. The Central Bank has published detailed information of the Examination, which you can find at www.centralbank.ie

Is the FSPO working with the CBI on tracker mortgage complaints?

The FSPO acts separately from the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI). We are not a regulatory body, that function is fulfilled by the CBI which is the regulator of financial services providers and markets in Ireland. The Central Bank has been supervising an industry-wide Examination of tracker mortgages, how they have been administered by the Banks and the impact of that on customers. You can find more information about this Examination at www.centralbank.ie. The Central Bank does not deal with individual customer complaints.

What is the main complaint made in relation to tracker mortgages?

The most common type of complaint relates to financial service providers' refusal to allow complainants to move to or revert to a tracker interest rate on their mortgage loan account after reaching the expiry of a fixed interest rate term.

Lenders included in the Examination

  • AIB Group (Allied Irish Banks, plc, AIB Mortgage Bank, EBS Limited, EBS Mortgage Bank and Haven Mortgages Limited)
  • Bank of Ireland Group (The Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland and Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank)
  • Permanent tsb plc
  • Ulster Bank Ireland DAC
  • KBC Bank Ireland plc
  • ACC Loan Management Limited
  • Bank of Scotland plc
  • Danske Bank
  • IBRC
  • Springboard Mortgages Limited
  • Stepstone Mortgage Funding Limited

Timelines for the Examination

  • If you have a query on the overall timelines of the Examination, please contact the Central Bank at www.centralbank.ie.
  • If you have a query about how long your own mortgage complaint will take to process, please contact your lender directly. For more information, see the section: Your provider's response

How to start a complaint about your tracker mortgage

You must first give your lender the chance to resolve your complaint, including availing of any appeal process set up to review the outcome if you remain unhappy. First, tell your provider that you wish to make a complaint. Explain what's happened and how you'd like things put right. If you do not take this step, the FSPO will not be able to deal with your complaint.

Under the Central Bank's Consumer Protection Code, your lender should have a proper complaints-handling procedure in place, which they must follow. The provider should deal with your complaint through its internal dispute resolution process.

It's important to make clear to your lender that you are complaining - and to follow the complaints process they have in place.

How to contact your lender

Communicate in the way you are most comfortable: face-to-face, over the phone, by email or in a letter.

It's important to keep copies of all letters, emails and statements you send and receive. You should also note down details of meetings and phone calls with your lender. This will be helpful when submitting your complaint. If you later decide to send the complaint on to us, we will need this information.

Be persistent. If nothing happens, call the lender to check on the progress of your complaint.

What to include in your complaint

  • Outline the problem.
  • Give relevant dates, places and times.
  • Give details of any phone conversations and meetings - who was involved, when they took place and what was said.
  • Provide copies of relevant documents, such as contracts, yearly statements or emails.
  • Say how you'd like your lender to resolve your complaint (for example, by offering a refund or compensation).

Your provider's response

Under the Central Bank's Consumer Protection Code, the provider should:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 5 working days
  • update you on the progress of the complaint at least every 20 days
  • try to resolve the complaint
  • When the Provider's internal dispute resolution process is finished, it should issue you a final response letter (FRL)

What is a final response?

A final response letter sets out what the provider has done to investigate your complaint through its internal complaint handling process. This process is called an internal dispute resolution process (IDR process).

They issue this response if they cannot resolve your complaint. The response will advise you to contact the FSPO as your next step, if you remain unhappy.

If you are having difficulty getting the final response, please let us know.

Complaining to the FSPO about your tracker mortgage

If your complaint is not resolved after going through the lender's complaints procedure, you can then make a complaint to us.

To make a complaint, you'll need to send us some details.

  1. Complete our complaint form. You can do this in 3 ways:
        a. Use our online complaint form.
        b. Download a printable complaint form - and then post it to us.

        c. Phone us at +353 1 567 7000 and we'll post one to you.
  2. Send us the final response from your provider.
  3. You may submit any other information you think is relevant to your complaint. Please only send copies of your information, not the original documents.

Please note that it is always open to you to seek independent legal and/or financial advice about your complaint but you don't need to. We deal with all complaints in the same way, whether or not you are represented by a legal or financial advisor. If you choose to use an adviser, we are not responsible for any of your legal or financial expenses. You will need to agree these directly with your adviser.

Is there someone I can contact directly in the FSPO to see if I am eligible?

We have put in place a dedicated Tracker Team who can be reached by phone at 01 567 7077 or by email at tracker@fspo.ie.

Is there a cost associated with making a complaint to the FSPO?

No, our service is free of charge

How will the FSPO handle my tracker complaint?

We will log your complaint and put it on hold until the Central Bank Examination has been completed and we have all the information we need to deal with your complaint. We will tell your lender that your complaint is on hold.

Why will my complaint be put on hold?

We believe it is in the best interest of the complainant to put their complaint on hold until the outcome of the Central Bank Examination.

Your complaint will remain open with us and we are closely monitoring developments with the Central Bank Examination.

If you do not receive an offer from your lender after the Central Bank Examination is completed, or if you receive an offer you are not happy with, then we will progress your complaint at that time.

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman contact details

Lincoln House
Lincoln Place
Dublin 2
D02 VH29