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FOS backed iPad comp complaint advocates

The Financial Ombudsman Service has come under fire for promoting National Complaints Day – an event during which consumers were offered the chance to win an iPad for submitting “the best complaint” on the day.

National Complaints Day took place on August 13 and was organised by ComplaintCommunity.com – a forum which allows users to post complaints about companies and allows firms to monitor complaints about them.

The website for the event, NationalComplaintsDay.com, displayed a banner which read: “iPad 64Gb prize for the best complaint on National Complaints Day 2010! Click on the links below and post your complaint for free!”

It displayed the FOS logo and a link to a form allowing consumers to submit their complaint to the company they have dealt with via ComplaintCommunity. com. The FOS promoted the day in the “news and events” section of its website. The FSA was also listed as a participating organisation but the regulator says the logo displayed is not its own and is asking Complaint Community.com to remove its name from the site.

Foot Anstey Solicitors associate Alan Hughes says: “The FOS consistently claim to be an independent arbiter and not a consumer champion but actions speak louder than words and its support for this campaign must be considered a step too far. By endorsing this campaign, it is actively encouraging complaints. It should take a long hard look at what it was set up for.”

PanaceaIFA chief executive Derek Bradley says: “The FOS has consistently denied it is a consumer champion but this finally lays to rest this myth. The FOS is meant to be independent, it is not an ambulance-chaser.”

An FOS spokesman says: “Before taking part, the FOS made it clear it would only participate if the focus of the event was on empowering both businesses and consumers to communicate better and resolve complaints early on, without the need for the ombudsman to get involved.”

A spokesman for ComplaintCommunity.com says: “The focus of the day was to give consumers advice and organisations the chance to improve complaint-handling processes and customer service. It was not and never has been an attempt to stimulate complaints. We are not a claims management firm. The FSA is listed as a participating organisation because they were going to send someone to take part but pulled out at the last minute.”

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Comments

There are 38 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Truely shocking.

    What on earth were they thinking?

  2. The lunatics ARE in charge of the asylum.

  3. Lets have a worst bit of regualtion day and ask the FSA to sponsor it with a retrospective final salary pension scheme to the winner !!!

  4. Another Pension Man 26th August 2010 at 9:08 am

    What a very sad indictment of what our nation has become.

    When the parasites (destroyers) have finally eaten up the gardeners (creators) will they then have to turn on each other to survive?

  5. Andy, Good idea, but wouldnt the FSA fall foul of its own rules on conflicts of interest there somewhere???

    Oh no….. thats right, a blind eye!

  6. Truly flabbergasted 26th August 2010 at 9:09 am

    Nice one Andy F. I am dismayed by this and do wonder where it’s all leading.

  7. They are keeping themselves in a job

    Next it will be a free Parker pen with each complaint ot £10 M&S voucher

  8. Fraser Brydon - IFA 26th August 2010 at 9:16 am

    Now we know who is on our side! This beggars beleif, and they say RDR is for the betterment of all…what a usless bunch of incompetents.

  9. In the last few days there has been a call for the new complaints body to fall under the MOJ. I do not think the Law Society nor the MOJ would have something like this.

    Why not set up a petition and get the AIFA to lobby the politicians to transfer FOS’s repsonsibilities to be under the MOJ?

  10. The FOS has been around for 10 years and over this period the explanatory descriptives offered by adjudicators has moved from the balanced to the slanted.

    Originally, complainants were told that the onus of proof was upon them. “The Ombudsman follows the general principle of law that ‘he who asserts must prove”.

    This was adjusted to the extent that adjudicators then stated, “We are forced to conclude that the explanations of both parties are just as likely”.

    The FOS is seen as a consumer champion and, despite their continuing cries of foul, their actions provide proof of this role.

  11. This cant be for real.
    Not even the worst quango is that stupid

  12. Is it only me or has this made anyone else’s blood boil?? The FOS have clearly overstepped the mark here and should be inmeadiatly investigated. This comes at a time when the Government, sponsored by us the tax payer, are carrying out an investigation into the increasing “claims culture” this is developing and here we have one of the biggest “independant” Ombudsman service offering a prize for the best complaint of the day!! Incredible and criminal!

    I’ve got a comlaint and its about them and the FSA, who in this instance have tried to distance themselves from this yet it is THEM that tell the FOS what to do!

    This madness has to end and i would encourage all reading this to bring this to the attention of thier MP and the Prime Minister himself and as him to justify it!

  13. Andy F, that is a cracking idea.

    Just shows why this country is in the state its in,

    Next it will be best Benefits Cheat wins a 4 bed detached house and a his and hers sports car.

    Makes me wonder why we bother

  14. have i woken up on april 1st ?

    “win a prize for the best complaint of the day”

    I cannot beleive it, can this really have happened ? – !!

    Exactly what would the criteria be for being judged the “best” complaint of the day ?, and if you don’t win the competition and are unhappy with that decision will there be an independent, unbiased, third party who you can refer your complaint about not winning the complaint competition to ??

  15. The MOJ! You are kidding right? These are the people that give licsenses to claims mamagment firms who are the perpetuators of these injustices!!

    They are all in it together. Take PPI claims for example.

    We have had some claims form one of these companies, regulated by the MOJ.

    They put a complaint in after marketing consumers and make up a story by cutting and pasteing various pre-defined standard areas of complaint into a letter.

    We respond answering all of these with evidence to the contrary and rejecting the case ( i know that with the banks say this is not always the case!)

    They then send the complaint to the FOS who accept it on the flimsiest grounds (or no grounds at all) and we and you have to pay £500 for the privelidge and take more of our time protecting oursleves against these charlatens!!!

    And why? Because WE allow it to happen.

  16. If ever proof were needed that FOS is not impartial, here it is.
    The new complaints body should indeed fall under the MOJ.
    Toddy is right, we need to lobby for a transfer of FOS’s responsibility. AIFA would not be my choice for such action. Adviser alliance would do a better job.
    Surely this is one issue all advisers can agree on?
    Come on how are we going to make our voice heard re this blatant ambulance chasing? which obviously sets out to encourage consumer complaints.

  17. excellent. id like an ipad!

  18. The last time I checked the calendar it was August …… not April the first! Next step TV ads like the ambulance chasers and claim farmers?

    What are they sponsoring next, National Kick The Industry in the Teeth day?

  19. FOS has clearly been run on the basis of Judge (Melchit) Jury (Darling) and defendent
    (Blackadder). Remember when Melchit’s carrier pigeon was shot. An IFAs life and career I am afriad are of no more value to these ‘officers’ than that of WW1 soldier’s in the trenches, just a number and less of us everyday.

  20. Robert Donaldson 26th August 2010 at 9:48 am

    I could not agree more with Alan Lakey’s comments.

    It seems to me that the complainant is not responsible for any of their actions despite their level of intellect.

    Well I for one am not going to take all this lying down.

  21. Simon Mansell - complain to the FOS Template 26th August 2010 at 9:51 am

    Here is a template compliant on this matter to send to the FOS. Take some action rather than moaning to each other. Send this to: Natalie Ceeney at Natalie.Ceeney@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

    As the new Chief Executive I am concerned at what I perceive to be a fall in FOS standards reflected in the FOS involvement in the “National
    Complaints Day” website competition to win a iPAD for the best complaint posted on National Complaints day.

    The FOS is vested with a quasi judicial role which includes powers that some already perceive to breach their rights under the Human Rights Act. By your involvement in such an event you impugn your integrity and
    impartiality. You run the risk of alienating one party to any such future complaint who will see you as displaying partiality where impartiality is of upmost importance.

    If you are vested with quasi judicial powers then you must act in a quasi judicial manner and uphold the principals of impartiality. You are
    not a commercial group touting for business. May I therefore ask you if you
    consider it ethical, moral or even tasteful for the FOS to participate in such an event and if you do then I would like to know why?

  22. Why is everyone only shocked by this today? As the article itselft acknowledges all this so-called news was in the public domain (such as the FOS website) way before the 13th.

    Better if any of the people with concerns had flagged this before the event and raised concerns with the FOS direct.

  23. Do you think that a complaint to the FOS complaining that the FOS incentive to complain on National Complaints day could win it?

  24. David Trenner - Intelligent Pensions 26th August 2010 at 10:01 am

    I went onto the Complaints Community website … and complained about National Complaints Day. I suggest that all of us express our outrage in this way.

  25. Incompetent Regulators Awards Team 26th August 2010 at 10:07 am

    W*nkers

  26. I agree fully with the suggestions above, and I will do just that.

    I can’t help myself from wondering whether FOS staff has got targets to meet in terms of how many complaints they need to receive. If so, are they running below targets to receive their staff bonuses or do they think this stunt will make them look like a more serious complaints body to the Coalition Government?

    It makes me feel like the members of the financial sector is a criminal bunch, you know how the police offer reward for information about dangerous criminals which help the police catching them. I know it is only an ipod, but none the less..

  27. I find it quite shocking that the FOS could be encouraging frivolous complaints that cost us as those paying the levies and the IFA against which the complaint was made a fee irrespective of the outcome.

    I never see the Law Society or General Medical Council carrying out such actions. The powers that be want RDR implemented because of the perceived bad image that financial planners have – no wonder when it is them that are creating that bad image.

  28. Authorisation via a non-UK regulatory authority means no FSA (except for regulation of Anti-Money Laundering procedures), no FOS, no FSCS and no levies payable towards the CFEB (which are to be collected by the CPMA).

    Why would any sane person choose to remain within the current punitive, corrupt, inept and over-regulated environment of the UK?

  29. Maybe we can field the best complaint? 26th August 2010 at 11:58 am

    FOS is not a worthy custodian of the powers granted to to it. Power currupts, absolute power currupts absolutely and here we see just such an example. Just when you though FOS couldn’t get any worse it goes and gets even worse! Lets all complain!
    THE HEAD OF FOS SHOULD RESIGN OBER THIS!

  30. Scarlet Pimpernel 26th August 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Hey Guy’s

    Why don’t we all commit CRIMES and go to JAIL! Because I have heard that they TCF = TREAT CROOKS FAIRLY!!!!!!!!!!!
    And best of all no FOS or FSA! – Free board lodgings, Colour TV, Free Gym, and NO TAX TO PAY – and you don’t have to work either! What more could you ask for!

  31. Everyone who is outraged at this should copy and paste simon mansells template on to the complaint form, which is available at NationalComplaintsDay.com
    The complaint will then be sent to FOS
    There is no point in moaning unless you are prepared to let FOS know the depth of feeling this has created

  32. I can’t believe I missed it, I would have fancied an Ipad as well.

    But if you have a primetime BBC program dedicated to complaints, I suppose you will create the culture.

    I wonder what criteria would warrant the ‘best complaint’

  33. I’m staggered. Here we have a bunch of donkeys running a mediatin service that is meant to be th essence of impartiality and they are actively encouraging, by their misguided reasoning fabricated complaints. If I had known about this scam I’d have been able to write the winning letter with a genuine complaint about the corruption and incompetence that takes place amongst our so called regulators,,DONKEYS… All of them.

  34. Julian says “Authorisation via a non-UK regulatory authority means no FSA (except for regulation of Anti-Money Laundering procedures), no FOS, no FSCS and no levies payable towards the CFEB (which are to be collected by the CPMA).

    Why would any sane person choose to remain within the current punitive, corrupt, inept and over-regulated environment of the UK?”

    I assume that other EEA countries impose similar threshhold conditions for authorisation to those of the UK? I foresee TC2 would be a sticking point for a lot of IFAs – look up COND 2.2.3 G in the FSA rulebook.

  35. Although many people have built up a whole industry based on complaining, including the FOS and that website it is a fact that here are some timid souls who need to be persuaded to make a valid complaint among the professional victims out there.

    In any battle there is collateral damage, unfortunately the compensation system supports the professional victims by allowing them to be economical with the truth and many people believe that is wrong, very wrong.

  36. Armagedon has finally reached the FInancial Services. I am heading for the nearest bunker with a list of things I can complain about and seek compensation. e.g. The sun is not shining today so I am going to ask for compensation from the Weather Office.

  37. It is utterly despicable (best said with a Daffy Duck lisp but really not funny) that a supposedly impartial judicial body should encourage a claims culture. Maybe we also need to remember how the FOS is funded, by the number of complaints received and thus not be surprised that such an inappropriate financial incentive creates such behaviour – time for the FOS structure to be thoroughly reviewed and overhauled I think.

  38. SIMPLE – all power corrupts, all power corrupts absolutely. Make the regulator electable like the mayor – if you screw up, you’re out! AND one more, anyone – yes anyone – who screws up badly gets their pension rights removed. Shame we could not do that for Mr. RBS or the other Banks Muppets. Prevention is best – how about a regulator that tries to stops things going wrong before it does – like a Dr rather than a mortician!!

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