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The precedent&#39s brain is missing

I was interested to read the comments of Walter Merricks on behalf of the Financial Ombudsman Service complaining about the industry holding contrary views on the issues of consistency in FOS decisions and the right of the FOS to set precedent (Money Marketing, January 22). He says if you want consistency, you must have a precedent.

The precedent of mercantile law as I learned it was “let the buyer beware”. In view of the fact that this seems to have changed for financial products, we see the FOS creating an empire at the expense of the industry in order to hypothesise on where the precedent should now be established so that there can be a consistent departure from what is right and fair.

It is not the establishment of the precedent which is a concern to any of us, it is that the precedent established is not fair.

A transparent and obvious system of rightness could never be the precedent or the FOS would all lose its jobs. It seems that the blame culture must be encouraged and all insurance salespeople made villains or the FOS would have to be disbanded.

Mr Merricks, the industry is not complaining so much about the FOS establishing a precedent as the fact that the precedent is wrong. Re-establish the truth that the buyer should take responsibility for his own decisions and limit yourself to genuine cases where there has been fraud or maladministration.

Malcolm Baxter

Baxter & Lindley Financial Services,Tring, Herts

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