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It’s sometimes tempting to think things don’t really change that much. The last time all our case studies in a single issue of ombudsman news were focused on cars – a few years ago now – we highlighted problems ranging from finance repayments and theft claims, to disagreements about “wear and tear”. And as we’ve shown in this issue, these are still things we’re regularly hearing about in 2016.
Perhaps this isn’t surprising. After all, even though technology’s changed over the years, the fundamentals of cars – and the financial services attached to them – remain broadly the same. For our part, we’re still looking to resolve things fairly and informally – no matter what problems people bring to us.
But just because we’re doing broadly the same thing, doesn’t mean we can stand still. And we haven’t. In the last ombudsman news, we explained how – at a time that people can use social media to get a near-instant response to a concern – we’ve been developing our own ways of working.
This focus on keeping up and staying relevant is something I’ve noticed when I talk to people working in financial services too. From the conversations I had at a recent event on “robo-advice”, it was clear that businesses are looking to the future – thinking about how new technology can help them provide a service that reflects the shifting expectations of many customers.
And at a time when the issue of vulnerability remains in the spotlight – both within financial services and more widely – reaching people who find themselves excluded by new technology is clearly a very pressing challenge.
For me, staying relevant is a balance – moving with the times, but remembering what, and who, we’re here for. In our plans for the year ahead – published this month – we’ve explained how we’re going to do that over the coming months.
ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.
The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.