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Financial Ombudsman Service - a waste of space and unreasonable

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We have been involved with 4 identical complaints against Skandia for the past 18 months. They FULLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THEY GAVE INCORRECT ADVICE and which led to a loss of just over £5k. They offered £600 (4x£150) compensation which we rejected and presented our case to the FOS.


After the usual huge delay the Adjudicator ruled that despite the wrong advice,

buried deep (and I mean VERY deep) in Skandia's terms and conditions,

was the correct information [and even that was far from clear as to its correct meaning]

so, based "on a very fine balance", he ruled in Skandia's favour. We appealed to the Ombudsman pointing out that the Adjudicator had made some incorrect assertions and assumptions in his judgment which adversely affected the decision.


When we eventually received the Ombudsman's reply he failed to respond to four of our points of appeal and then again ruled in Skandia's favour based upon a totally incorrect assumption that we would have taken a particular course of action even if we had had the correct information

- and despite the fact that there was factual evidence to the contrary. We pointed this out to the Adjudicator (from whom the Ombudsman's letter had been sent) and asked for the Ombudsman's comments; this was rejected as "the Ombudsman's decision is final".


We were then required to accept or reject the decision within four weeks - the post was delayed by a week and we then had the Christmas period when our advisors were unavailable! We asked for an extension which was refused.


My advice is that the FOS are a waste of space - we'd have been better threatening legal action in the first place and maybe Skandia would then have seen the light. I wonder, too, what percentage of cases which are referred to the Ombudsman on appeal are actually reversed in favour of the appellant- maybe it's a case of supporting the decisions of your staff (or is that just me being cynical?).

Edited by PeterH333

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Welcome to the FOS !

But I do think the refusal of a short extension over Christmas, with advisers unavailable is unreasonable. I suggest a complaint to the Independent Assessor. She can't change the decision or actually do anything much, but she can award a small compensation payment. The current IA is a good person who has few powers but is not afraid to challenge and criticise FOS. You can complain about FOS service standards, but there is a specific procedure to follow. Check out the IA's website page at: http://www.independent-assessor.org.uk/

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I complained to IA in the past - she, like the FOS, was a useless waste of time. I will therefore be interested hear if anyone has persuaded the IA to do her job which should be to oversee and regulate the practices of the FOS.




ps - look out in her first letter for the long list of things she does not do...

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