skip tocontent

ombudsman news

issue 32

October 2003

about this issue

The jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service (the matters we can and cannot look into) is defined in the rules under which we operate. Our jurisdiction is a broad one - but not quite as broad as some consumers believe - and we do sometimes have to explain that we are unable to deal with a particular complaint. Often this is because the firm concerned is not regulated.

Firms, too, can sometimes be mistaken about the extent of our jurisdiction. Unlike consumers, however, they generally tend to think it narrower than it actually is. In this edition of ombudsman news we take a look at two specific areas of our jurisdiction that can give rise to misunderstandings in relation to insurance complaints:

  • cases that involve group policies; and
  • commercial cases (where the event being complained about happened before we gained our statutory powers on 1 December 2001).

We also feature a wide range of recent banking and investment-related cases, including complaints from:

  • a woman who said the firm misled her about the free travel insurance it offered with its credit card;
  • a man who applied for a waiver of premiums for his life assurance policy after he had suffered a serious heart attack, but was told he had left it too late to apply; and
  • a couple who cashed in their endowment policy a year before it was due to mature and thought the firm was guilty of discrimination because it did not pay them a terminal bonus.

As always, we welcome your questions for ask ombudsman news. This month we include a query about a mortgage endowment complaint that appears to have reached a dead-end, since neither of the firms involved will accept responsibility for the investment advice given to the consumer.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news issue 32 [PDF format]

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.