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Booklet to explain complaint handling

The Financial Ombudsman Service is offering a new booklet to explain its role and complaints&#39 handling procedures to IFAs, insurers, banks and building societies.

The booklet sets out the type of complaints that the ombudsman is able to deal with and gives advice on how firms should try to handle complaints before the service becomes involved.

It also covers the different stages in the ombudsman process, lays down the practical details about how firms should provide it with information, how issues of confidentiality are dealt with and how companies should comply with a ruling.

Chief ombudsman Walter Merricks says he wants the booklet to help firms take preventive measures to avoid complaints going as far as the FOS, as well as being a guide to going through the process.

But he says firms should feel free to approach the ombudsman service&#39s tech-nical support desk for advice before a complaint is officially made. Companies can also ask the ombudsman to arrange a training seminar for further assistance.

Merricks says: “We hope the guide will help firms in their dealings with us and demystify the ombudsman process, especially for firms who have had little or no direct contract with us and are uncertain about what happens if a complaint about them is bought to the ombudsman.”


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