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Complainants should not be chasing iPads

Offering an iPad as an incentive for consumers to submit their “best complaint” sends out all the wrong signals at a time when policymakers say they are looking to encourage a more responsible society.

The fact that the event offering this prize, National Complaints Day, was promoted by the Financial Ombudsman Service is very worrying.

The FOS certainly needs to promote itself to all areas of society to ensure everyone knows they have a fair arbiter to turn to in the event that they believe they have been ripped off by the industry.

But this iPad prize both trivialises an important route for vulnerable consumers to get compensation from firms and encourages the type of complaints culture which does no-one any good.

The only encouragement anyone should need to complain is the belief that they have been missold and the desire to get their money back.

Bribing people to complain with such a prize  is not too far of a jump from the claims management companies who wasted the time and money of so many people by dredging up unnecessary complaints in the past.

The mind does boggle over the process they went through to judge the best complaint. Were they looking for wit and humour? Were they looking for the most outlandish, fantastical complaint of the day? Were marks taken off for bad spelling or grammar?

For the spokesman of the website who organised the day to suggest that the prize was not meant to stimulate complaints is incredible.

Fair play to the FSA for publicly distancing itself from the event and asking for its logo to be removed.

At a time when the FSA is debating with the industry the rights and responsibilities of everyone involved in the buying, selling and advising of financial products this prize really does send out a terrible message.

Paul McMillan is editor of Money Marketing


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There are 19 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. If I complain about that competition and how badly considered it was can I win an i-pad please?

  2. You're having a laugh! 26th August 2010 at 2:07 pm

    To think that we thought all the idiots were in the FSA!

  3. What an outrage, I am speechless and disgusted with such an irresponsible idea. What next, a free car after 10 complaints submitted!

  4. What’s the prize for the best complaint against the FSA?

  5. For the FOS to run a “National Complaints Day” with a prize of an iPad implies that they have spare capacity in their organization. Is this really the case? This is a bit like an A&E Department running a competition for the “most amusing injury”.

  6. Is it April 1st? This is simply staggering, especially as complaints made result in a cost for the insurer/intermediary concerned regardless of whether a complaint is justified. I wonder how many unfounded complaints were made as a result of this ridiculous prize?

  7. Who are the idiots responsible for dreaming up this idea – don’t we have enough ambulance chasing dodgy claims handling companies without FOS joining in?
    If FOS has so much spare capacity that it wants to encourage more complaints, it should deal with the ones it’s already received in a more timely manner.

  8. Quite right, it reads like an April fool, doesn’t it? Best complaint wins an iPad, bonkers. I might complain about the iPad, it’s too big to be an iPod and too crap to be a laptop. Can I win a netbook please?

  9. Incompetent Regulators Awards Team 26th August 2010 at 2:42 pm

    An X-FOS adjudicator told me lots about the corrupt FOS system. They also have sales targets for completing complaints with bonuses.

    This is supposed to be an Altrenative Disputes resolution body, HA! It’s full of unqualified idiots and that’s 1st hand info.

  10. Nice one Derek – thank goodness for a sense of humour else we’d all be in the mad house!

  11. Now we know why the FOS refuse to reveal the qualifications of their staff. The staff don’t have any they are imbeciles just like the FSA staff. They all make my blood boil

  12. If the FOS spent more time dealing with the high levels of complaints have on their books and less time staging competitions which increases their workload, they may get more done for consumers.

  13. Robert Donaldson 26th August 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Let us all encourage people to promote our industry by complaining – what a good idea!

  14. Again a classic example of what happens when you vest in an unelected quasi judicial body unaccountable powers. This body is better suited to the judicial system of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Just think these people can fine you £100K with a right of audiance, without a right of appeal and without recourse to the rules of evidence. Even worse they want an increase to this maximum fine. I say no taxation/prosecution without representation. We live in England not Zimbabwe …or do we?


  15. Can we have a National No Complaints Day?

    How much would that save the nation?

  16. paolo standerwick 26th August 2010 at 3:52 pm

    What the industry should do in response to this, is publish some of the OUTRAGEOUS decisions to come out of FOS for the full exposure of the incompetency levels.

  17. Beggars belief !!!!!
    Maybe I should complain about the FOS taking away the IFA’s common law rights?
    I might even win an IPAD.
    Senior FOS STAFF, hang your heads in SHAME.

  18. I think my local should offer a free pint for the best complaint about the quality of the beer – it would be less ridiculous

  19. I don’t know what you’re complaining about…I love my new iPad!

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