I'd picked up the ombudsman's card several months back at a local event. I'd pinned it on my kitchen notice board, thinking I'd hang on to the details – just in case. To be honest, it never occurred to me I'd actually be needing the ombudsman's help – certainly not so soon anyway.
It was only when I was sitting in the kitchen - on the phone to my bank yet again and absolutely fuming about how long they were keeping me 'on hold' - that the ombudsman card caught my eye. I was expecting my daughter back from school any minute so it was not till the next day that I got round to calling the ombudsman service.
I'd calmed down by then and was a bit worried they might say I'd just misunderstood – that I was making a big fuss over nothing. But they listened carefully when I told them about the problems I'd been having with my bank. It had started with what seemed to be just a simple error on my bank statement but things got worse and the bank never managed to sort things out, no matter how many times I complained.
The person at the ombudsman took all the details and said they'd look into it for me. When she contacted me a few weeks later, she said it hadn't been clear at first – even to them – exactly what had gone wrong. But eventually they sorted it for me. Once they'd unravelled it all – it seems the whole thing was down to one section of the bank not communicating properly with another section – the right hand not knowing what the left was doing.
These illustrative stories are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.