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FOS drops timeline question

The Financial Ombudsman Service complaint form no longer asks consumers when they first became aware of a problem, raising fears that advisers could be hit with charges for cases falling outside FOS jurisdiction.

The ombudsman cannot consider a complaint if the complainant takes it to the FOS more than three years after they became aware, or could reasonably have been expected to be aware, of a problem.

Collegiate Claims legal director Martin Archer says: “Sensibly, the old complaint form required the claimant to provide three key dates to enable the FOS to assess whether the complaint fell within its jurisdiction, namely the date of the transaction, when they first realised there may be a problem and when they first complained.

“However, the new complaint form inexplicably no longer asks the claimant to confirm when they first realised there might be a problem. The ombudsman will no longer be alerted to whether the complaint potentially falls outside its jurisdiction under the three-year rule.

“The cynics among us will therefore conclude the ombudsman wishes to adopt a ’Nelsonian blind eye’ to the limitation issues and is trying to investigate claims that it otherwise, upon proper enquiry, would have no jurisdiction over.”

An FOS spokesman says: “It was found that consumers were misunderstanding this question and routinely were putting inaccurate information in the box. Often the financial businesses involved had more accurate records of when a consumer had first become aware of their right to complain.

“We can confirm that nothing has changed in terms of the ombudsman process or the time limits that apply to the ombudsman’s consideration of complaints. Where it is clear that a consumer is out of time to bring a complaint to the ombudsman service, the firm involved will not be charged a case fee.”

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Comments

There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. The rule of law is defined as that which allows the rights of individuals to be determined by law and not the arbitrary actions of authority. It incorporates the right to a trial by jury, the presumption of innocence, the right of appeal, the presumption that actions should not be judged retrospectively. The FOS breaches every one of these rules and there is no place for it in a free society!

    Mugabe together with the FOS proves the point that power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely!

  2. paolo standerwick 4th February 2010 at 10:18 am

    Many of FOS’s staff including Walter Merricks have been made aware of this over the years. When are we going to see the prosecution of individuals who have ‘acted in bad faith’ under FSMA 2000?

  3. paolo standerwick 4th February 2010 at 10:41 am

    Many of FOS’s staff which include adjudicators, ombudsmen and senior staff have all been made aware of this in writing on a regular basis which also includes bringing to their attention breeches of SI2326. They have systematically ignored these challenges from firms and I have the proof. When are we going to see these individuals reprimanded or even prosecuted of ‘acting in bad faith’ under FSMA 2000? After all what’s good for the foose is good for the gander!

  4. They never took any notice of what the claimant said anyway so where is the loss?
    The final statement form the FOS ‘spokesman’ is untrue because the FOS is still in denial of SI2326 which sets in stone the procedures which should be applied in relation to pre N2 business. It is acting illegally and the FSA”adopt a Nelsonian blind eye” to that.

    With all this in mind I would ask what Collegiate are going to do about this, they may have had a bloody nose in the past and burned bridges with their fellow insurers but unless this situation improves they won’t have a market in which to peddle their wares within a few years.

  5. The article above includes a statement from a FOS spokesperson – “Where it is clear that a consumer is out of time to bring a complaint to the ombudsman service, the firm involved will not be charged a case fee.”

    If this is the case, why is it that the FOS continually invoice firms for mortgage endowment complaints which have been time-barred as a result of FSA’s Dispute Resolution rules? When I have contacted them about this they explain to me that there were other complex issues which needed to be considered before they were able to conclude the complaint was outside their jurisdiction.

    Cases which fall outside of FOS jurisdiction are not included in their publication of complaint data as they have not been investigated, guess they are still happy to take the case fee though!!

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