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.
February / March 2008
For the first time, we have had a customer’s complaint referred to the ombudsman service. The adjudicator dealing with it has now said that, in her opinion, we should waive some of our customer’s debts. We disagree and want to appeal – could you tell us what options we have?
If you disagree with the adjudicator’s view, get in touch with her. Set out your reasons, including any new facts and arguments that you’ve not already provided. Don’t hold important points back for later – raise them with the adjudicator as soon as possible.
Most complaints can be resolved informally, without the need for a final decision from an ombudsman. The adjudicator will have seen many similar cases before and will have a good idea of how the ombudsman would be likely to view your case. But if, once the adjudicator has responded to your concerns, you still disagree with her view, you can "appeal" by asking for a review and a final decision by an ombudsman. This is the final stage of our process, and a final decision from the ombudsman is binding on you, if the consumer accepts it.
There’s more information about our process – and what to do if you disagree with an adjudicator’s view – in our quick guide to how we handle disputes between businesses and their customers. You should already have received a copy, as we send this quick guide out automatically when we receive a complaint about a business that has complaints referred to us only very infrequently.
I can’t help thinking the ombudsman service is out-of-touch with the real world. How can you have any idea of what life is like for small businesses like mine?
The practicalities of our day-to-day work give us a unique insight – not only into the issues of concern to consumers but also into the commercial realities facing businesses of all sizes and profiles. Every year we handle complaints from tens of thousands of consumers, touching on all aspects of their lives. These complaints involve thousands of different businesses – from some of the largest financial services providers in the world to small partnerships, sole traders, and businesses such as motor dealers, where financial services are secondary to their main trade.
And our technical advice desk (phone 020 7964 1400) takes thousands of calls each year from businesses wanting to discuss a wide variety of complaints-related issues with us – on an informal basis.
We are always keen to meet as many of our customers and stakeholders as possible, and we regularly travel around the UK taking part in trade and industry events.
These events – from roadshows and seminars to conferences and exhibitions – enable us to meet a wide variety of people face-to-face, listen to their views and answer their questions.