Making sure that all customers receive fair and equal treatment should be a concern of all firms. However, it is evident from some of the disputes that come to us that this is not always the case. In this issue we outline some of the types of discrimination that can occur, with illustrations taken from recent banking complaints. Similar issues can, of course, arise across all areas of financial services.
The fact that most motor insurers will not pay claims for stolen cars when the ignition keys were left in - or on - the vehicle often comes as a nasty surprise to policyholders, and we continue to see a number of cases where claims for theft - or attempted theft - have been turned down on these grounds. We also look at the general principles we follow when dealing with these complaints.
In issue 33 of ombudsman news (November 2003), we outlined our approach to the payment of "'interest" in cases where we require firms to compensate customers for financial loss. We also explained some changes that would take effect from 1 January 2004. In addition we look in more detail at how redress should be calculated for loss of investment opportunity - where, because they took the firm's (inappropriate) advice, customers lost the opportunity to invest their money in some other way and to earn a return on it. Our case studies are based on disputes we have dealt with since January this year, including one that gives a detailed illustration of the compound interest calculations.
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.