This section answers a number of frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about:
what are the types of financial complaints the ombudsman service can’t help with?
We can deal with complaints about a very wide range of financial matters – from pet insurance to stocks and shares.
But the rules and restrictions we have to follow mean there are some types of dispute we cannot help with. These rules can be very complex – and may depend on the exact circumstances of your case. It is usually best to phone us, so that we can talk through with you whether or not we could help.
In particular, you should be aware that time limits may affect our ability to look into your case if you leave it too long to complain after you know (or should have known) that there’s a problem.
If we uphold a complaint, we can tell the financial business to compensate the consumer for losses of up to £150,000 (£100,000 for complaints we received before 1 January 2012). But most cases we deal with involve much smaller amounts than this.
Where this limit may be relevant in a dispute, we will explain as soon as possible what this could mean to both sides (see our consumer factsheet on compensation over £150,000).
The ombudsman service doesn't punish or fine financial businesses. And we do not monitor (or "regulate") businesses to make sure they follow the rules. This is the job of the regulators, such as the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
If you ask us to look into your complaint, we will explain any particular rules and restrictions that may apply in your own individual case – and we will always give you the chance to query anything you don’t understand. If you’re not sure if your complaint is one we can help with, just ask us.