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FOS spent £3,500 for stand at Gadget Show

FOS stand
FOS stand: Show cash criticised by IFAs

Advisers have slammed the Financial Ombudsman Service for spending over £3,000 on an exhibit at The Gadget Show Live, saying the event is “irrelevant” and a waste of industry funds.

This year’s Gadget Show Live event, which was held at the NEC in Birmingham last week, is described by organisers as the UK’s biggest consumer electronics event.

The FOS paid £3,467 to attend the event this year and confirmed it has paid for a stand at the event for the last three years as part of its work to raise awareness about the ombudsman service.

The FOS says it has a total budget for external events of £50,000 for 2011/12.

Philip J Milton & Company managing director Philip Milton, who attended the event, says: “It is totally inappropriate for the FOS to be taking space at The Gadget Show Live. The FOS is unrelated to anything you would find at that event.” The FOS says its work to raise awareness of the service picks up on findings by Lord Hunt’s 2008 independent review, which said a key part of the FOS’s role is to be open and accessible to all consumers.

An FOS spokeswoman says: “The Gadget Show Live is one of the largest events in Europe and a key place to raise awareness with people who might not be aware of where to turn if they have a problem.”

Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director Dennis Hall says: “The industry, which pays for the FOS, is being squeezed and the FOS seems to treat its funding as a bottomless pit.”


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There are 25 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. £3,500 is incredibly cheap for an event of this size.

  2. Guess if it was a toss-up between a stand at the WI annual jamboree or the Gadget Show, I know which one I would have chosen – especially if I could get it on expenses……..(or in the case of FOS, get someone to else to fund a few days out of the office to play with the latest toys)

  3. I attended this event last Thursday and remember walking past the FOS stand wondering why they were there. Glad i’m not the only one.

  4. I wonder if they will be there for the ETO Show on the 26th/27th June as well……..haha

  5. £3467 is the cost of the stand – now add salaries, hotel bills, dinners and lunches, wine and water (!), travel, and whatever else goes into the pot and my guess is £10,000 will be nearer the mark. But my daughter spends money as easily because she also gets it from me on demand. And a pathetic attempt to ‘justify’ just adds to the insults that The FOS throws at the hands that feed it every day of the week. Expect nothing less when the trough is full.

  6. I went by the stand 3 times on the Wednesday and no one was even there.

  7. Mr Old Fashioned 20th April 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I’ll give them a gadget of their own which they can stuff right up their ……….. (rest of message indecipherable)

  8. Were they giving out prizes for the best complaint ?

  9. To suggest being “one of the largest events in Europe” is ridiculous – it implies that a large number of visitors from mainland Europe attend who couldn’t care less about the FOS.

    They’d be better off touring County Shows (for example) as their visitors would almost all be eligible claimants. E3 in LA, or the Indy 500 are amongst the World’s largest events but simply being largest doesn’t provide any justification for a FOS stand. Also I can’t imagine the FOS stand excited any visitors who went there to see tech, and couldn’t care less about the FOS or want to waste tech-playing time talking to them!

  10. Nice little jolly for them.

  11. I’m sure FOS would like to have the benefit of your collective wisdom on how you would optimise the use of the £50k budget. Some constructive suggestions might be an improvement on hysterical whining, but not as easy I guess.

  12. You joke about giving out prizes for the best complaint! I saw the stand at a recent event its a disgrace and lm certain it does the industry no favours.

  13. Why should the FOS give a stuff? It’s just other peoples’ money, to be spent freely, lavishly and without accountability. And that’s what’s wrong with the UK’s regulatory system. What are you trying to do about it AIFA?

  14. One can only assume they have too much of our money sloshing around.

    It should be up to Governments to promote the FOS not those in the industry. There is no control over costs and no doubt we will see expensive TV advertising next.

    These people have no sense of reality on costs and are clearly showing they are not up to the job by spending such money.

  15. I too noticed the stand but no one on it. I guess they were out playing with the tech! I too think this ridiculous and when you add the associated expenditure and salaries it would be at least double. 7.5/50 budget = 15% (not good)

  16. …Next stop the Boat Show…oh and don’t forget the Olympics…

  17. Paul…ouch. Perhaps the FOS could run some simple online adverts on sites like or MotleyFool? That would certainly use up a fair whack of their budget, whilst targeting consumers, rather than just going out for a jolly @ NEC.

  18. They were probably getting Suzie or Otis to design the best ‘complaints app.’ See who’s app can extract the most money from Advisers in the shortest time. Oops we already have that ‘it’s the Keydata’ app!!!!

  19. I agree with the FOS after all it is “one of the largest events in Europe” and seen by many

    Moving on from that; I run a golfing society which is one of the largest growing sports and in the spirit of the regulators goals of being “effective and efficient” we are willing to allow them to pay for our golf outings and in turn 20-30 of us will wear FOS branded shirts
    Thus spreading the name

  20. It probably was a silly event to be at, and invite this criticism, but £50k is pretty paltry if their target audience is essentially everyone in Britian (a budget of 0.001p per person). They either need a bigger budget or, here it comes, segment their audience! Bit of a lesson from IFAs might help maybe?

  21. how many people walked past the stand and what areas of the UK did they represent, its a drop in the ocean and an insult to our intellignece to suggest its all part of the grand scheme to bring the FOS closer to Joe public – com’on credit us with some intelligence, a leaflet drop at Kings Cross would have “hit” more of the target audience!

  22. I could not understand why they were there when I walked past and was willing to ask someone but passed it a number of times and no one was present, clearly in the gaming section or checking out the latest 3D televisions. It a disgrace the cost of the stand, hotel, salaries and expensives behind this, but what is also of concern is the fact that no one was there to answer questions (if required). I was there Saturday afternoon.

  23. “The Gadget Show Live is one of the largest events in Europe and a key place to raise awareness”

    I can’t help thinking that the exact same logic would justify a stand at the Champions League final.

    @Basil: Personally I would have gone for the WI. For the freebies. I’ll take some nice preserves over a pen that tweets whatever you’re writing to your fridge in real time any day.

  24. A better question is – where does advertising your services stop and encouraging complaints start?

    The irony is that it is in the FOS’s interests for greater numbers to complain. The concept of self-perpetuation is alive and well at South Quay.

  25. Agent Provocateur is not only sexy lingerie but a term in law used to indicate incitement and this is what the FOS is doing here. The FOS is inciting complaints and touting for business. This is what you get when you give and unelected quango quasi judicial powers without accountability and to make matter worse you pay them out of the complaint fees they charge. This is a system worthy only of His Excellency, The Honourable Comrade Dr. Robert Gabriel Mugabe

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