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Dear Forum members

 

Thought you might be interested in a petition to abolish the Financial Ombudsman Service. Its available at: Petition to: Abolish the Financial Services Ombudsman.

 

If link doesn’t work can be copied and pasted into browser. Please forward link to any other people you think will support this campaign.

 

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Quoted from the petition:

 

"The financial Services Ombudsman is accountable to no-one. It is funded by the very businesses consumers complain about. There is a huge disparity between the way in which the FOS presents itself to the public, i,e. 'impartial' and its actual subjective and bias behavior. The FOS maintain they 'don't have to ask for evidence' or even explain themselves. Internal service review complaints about the FOS are stonewalled and/or dismissed but the FOS are not even obliged to publish details in relation to these internal complaints. They are an affront to any notion of consumer rights and merely add to the misery and suffering of those injured by unethical and unscrupulous financial organisations. The FOS should be abolished."

 

end quote.

 

Hmm, do i sense a hint of negativity towards the FOS?!

As far as i can see that's all just opinion with no factual statistics or evidence to back it up. Who would you suggest arbitrates between the customer and the business if the FOS were shut down?

 

 

DA

If you find the advice I give is useful, then please feel free to click the scales :)

 

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt" :)

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Unfortunately all quite true. I know heaps of people affected including myself. If you do a search on parliaments website for the FOS you'll see they aren't accountable to anyone as this caused some MP's concern at the time they were being set up. All stats produced by the FOS are sparse (should never believe stats anyway too easy to dr - not paranoia, professional experience). They don't have to produce any for their internal complaints anyway. Since nothing is collated think it a great idea for people to have an opportunity to vote with their feet.

 

The FOS don't really arbitrate, they have a pattern of perhaps getting near to doing their job with smaller financial businesses but since they are funded by their stakeholders (business) they tend to sideline complaints about bigger ones. They were set up to assist people without the means to access courts so know all too well people have no-where else to go and can feel secure in treating consumers appallingly.

 

I'd recommend this particular website for more information. There is a revealing radio interview and a submission to the current Hunt review of the FOS written by a professor and an ex-lawyer Light Blue Touchpaper » Blog Archive » Financial Ombudsman losing it? Although may seem reassuring that a review taking place, note Lord Hunt hand picked by FOS board!

 

Hope this helps

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I can only go by my personal experience, and whilst it's taken some time my complaint about Bank of Scotland (definitely a biggie I would think) was dealt with properly, and I have a clear decision in my favour.

Whilst the service may have been slow, I suspect the majority of the delays were actually caused by Bank of Scotland's failure to reply to anything and I have certainly not been treated appallingly. Any correspondence I have sent has been acknowledged within a couple of days - how many financial businesses do that? - and once past the initial stage all information has been treated sensitively and seriously.

For full details see this thread

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/debt-collection-industry/102011-blair-oliver-scott-bank-11.html

 

No doubt there are plenty of people who think as the OP does, but I'm sure there are also many who have been grateful for the FOS' help.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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I'm really please for you - at last someone with a success story. Sadly rare though. Perhaps you managed to get an adjudicator with a conscience? As individuals some must surely have morals so I would hope there are more out there somewhere. Unfortunately, staff are under pressure and given carrots, to clear their desks as quickly as possible under normal circumstances. Although the FOS has admitted that it operates a staff 'bonus scheme', I am told by an acquaintance that a TV investigative reporter with a great interest in the FOS, has established that it is bound to a 'clear up rate'! It is more usually then in the financial interest of staff to try and 'get rid of complaints' as quickly as possible. So in addition to the overall structural problems there is a cultural endorsement of dismissing complaints using money as an incentive. After all, how could protracted dealings with awkward large companies possibility assist in securing a bonus of this nature? This if nothing else will ensure staff stay away from the big stakeholders and concentrate on the less significant (funding wise) smaller companies who are easier to frighten!

 

Consumers need more safeguards and definitely more transparency. The Hunt review now taking place has asked this very question of those making submissions. I personally think the whole festering organisation needs replacing though.

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I'm sorry but i must be missing something here. I work for RBS insurance and have done for some time so i'm fully aware of the complaints process and how it all works etc. From what i understand (and please correct me if i'm wrong) the FOS step in and will make a decision when the customer and the company cannot come to an amicable agreement over an issue.

I also understand that the decision is binding on the company so if the FOS find in the customers favour, there's nothing the company can do. However, it is NOT binding on the customer so if they are not happy with the decision, they can escalate the complaint to be looked at by a court of law.

You make it seem like the FOS are bias towards the companies when in reality they have nothing to gain by making favourable decisions against customers who can then simply go over their heads.

Also, you never answered my question, who would you suggest steps in if the FOS were to be shut down?

 

DA

If you find the advice I give is useful, then please feel free to click the scales :)

 

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt" :)

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Sorry if I wasn't very clear last night - long day. Your understanding is correct in theory, and to the letter of marketing/publicity material. The problem is the actuality of what they do - something quite different (notwithstanding that individual staff members may have a sense of responsibility and justice). The very reason the FOS was set up was so that consumers without the means to access legal redress had a route by which to access their rights. The FOS know, perhaps better than anyone considering the nature of the complaints they receive, that if a disgruntled customer could walk away from what might otherwise be considered a small loss they would to avoid hassle. For larger losses they would use the courts if they had the means. So to then say customers can go to court if they don't agree with the FOS is ridiculous. There is a very strong class element to their workload as has been identified. I'm not sure whether I have previously provided the following link but I would recommend you check it out: Light Blue Touchpaper » Blog Archive » Financial Ombudsman losing it? There is an interesting radio interview here and also a submission to the current Hunt review of the FOS which is quite enlightening. The authors are a professor and ex-lawyer.

 

Abolishing the FOS could only ever happen because of acknowledgment that they are not fit for purpose. Those who agree with this have an opportunity to sign the petition advised of. However, the purpose would still exist, so the FOS would need to be replaced. My personal view is that it should take the form of a statutory structured and funded consumer organisation sufficiently distanced from the private finance sector to be impartial and that it should have teeth. In theory the statutory FSA who set the regulations has since they have the power to close businesses down if necessary. However, they must first know. The finance sector funded and staffed FOS are supposed to notify the FSA of breached regulations according to a memorandum of understanding between the organisations - they don't. I have an acquaintance who has been contacted by a TV investigative journalist who is gathering information on the FOS, and have seen correspondence in which the journalist wrote to the FOS specifically asking about certain breaches of regulations (not forgetting this means suffering consumers) and inquiring whether the FSA had been notified. The very confident response from the FOS was 'no'! The FOS seem to think they can do whatever they like but as highlighted in the petition, they answer to no-one. If you need verification of this, check out parliament's website and search for the FOS to see the concern of some MP's about this very thing when it was being set up.

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FOS helped me a great deal, Crapital One tried to get away without paying the contractual interest and FOS made them pay back everythin they owed me, yes it took a while, but no longer than it would have taken had I gone to court with it.

I was very pleased with how they dealt with my case. I am aware however of the other arguments against them, just thought I would let you know about my experience.

:DABBEY-WON! £1,359.34

:confused:CAPITAL ONE WON £1,523.27+£39court fees.

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Even so, the old adage that "who pays the piper calls the tune" means the are tarnished in the public's mind and, arguably, need to be replaced by an independently funded organization that can demonstrate absolutely that there is no grace or favour involved.

I don't disagree with you, but I do feel that if this were the case there should be more of a level playing field - i.e. that the decision should be binding on both parties, not just on the financial institution. At the moment, despite any feelings about "paying pipers" etc. it's very one-sided towards the customer in terms of who has to abide by the decision.

 

If the new agency could form part of some formal Alternative Dispute Resolution recognised under law - thus avoiding the need to tie up the Courts, that would work, IMO.

 

Dr. S.

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