The Financial Ombudsman Service is reducing the time limit for firms to respond to requests for information from 21 days to 14 days.
The FOS says it recognises that the change might “cause short-term difficulties for some businesses” but it insists moving to shorter timescales will improve its service.
The latest Ombudsman News states: “Most of the information we request from financial businesses is routine. Typically, it is the same information that the business would have considered when it iss-ued its final decision on the consumer’s complaint. If we need new or unusual information, we may give more time for a response.
“We reserve the right to progress the case to the next stage of our process, including to a final ombudsman decision, if a financial business or a consumer continues to delay responding to us.”
A FOS spokesman says the change is likely to be in place “within the next month”.
Evolve Financial Planning director Jason Witcombe says: “If firms are not able to get information back to the FOS in 14 days, you have to wonder about their record-keeping or the availability of their files.
But it may be unreasonable to expect information to be supplied that quickly if the request is excessive.”