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Lazy, incompetant, inexperienced FOS adjudicator


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I am in the process of a complaint regarding my late Father's estate. His medical insurer have withheld information relating to who provided his healthcare since 2009. Medical records are available to me under the Access to Health Record Act and I have requested this from a number of institutions which formed part of a litigation process surrounding invalid/ potentially fraudulent Wills.


The health insurer stated that it would be a breach of the DPA to provide this information and invited me to gain appropriate legal status. At great expense, I did. They still refused to provide me with the private healthcare provider list and invited me to contact every healthcare professional in the country to see if they treated my late Father. Absurd!


Having consulted the ICO, the DPA is not applicable here as the providers are acting in their professional capacity, so they are hiding behind inappropriate legislation.


The adjudicator had never even heard of a 'grant of probate', which is shocking. So how did they make a decision upon my rights as executor? Yep, you got it, they couldn't be bothered to find out and made up their own version of the Administration of Estates Act!



HMCTS have confirmed that a grant of probate is sufficient and the insurer's request to get a court order is unnecessary and possibly will be seen as a waste of court time.


I referred the case to the FOS. It took over 4 months to be allocated to an adjudicator. The adjudicator was extremely inexperienced. I was invited to provide a breakdown of the legal costs for which WPA forced me to incur by leading me down a garden path. I stated this would take a week or so to compile from the legal bill narrative. Two days later, I received a letter (the adjudicator took less than a week in total to conclude their findings on a complex matter) stated that the firm believed the DPA to be in effect. Despite my extensive documentation and the adjudicator's own admission that it was a 'lengthy' complaint, it seems the adjudicator couldn't be bothered to deal with it properly and simply wanted to get it off the desk as quickly as possible. Upon speaking to the manager I was refused to be notified how long the adjudicator took to review the full file (hundreds of pages of documents) and had to source this from the helpline. Tellingly, the manager told me that the time that the adjudicator spends looking at the file before concluding is 'irrelevant' and the adjudicator had ignored most of my complaints as only the 'key issues' as defined by the adjudicator, not me. I was also told by the manager that this particular adjudicator's workload is extremely large and the individual was not feeling well and had to be stationed in one of their 'quiet rooms' for the day. Hmm...


The whole process is bizarre. They quite clearly have no idea what they are doing and when I explained this to the helpdesk staff, they clearly admitted that they don't really help consumers.


I don't see the point in their existence and have absolutely no confidence in the FOS now as it seems like a big game for firms to play with. It's a no brainer to send all complaints to the FOS if I were a firm as it's a safe risk due to the incompetence of the FOS. No wonder they are busy and it's in excess of 6 months for a case that has been referred to a full Ombudsman to be re-reviewed.



Any similar experiences with the FOS?

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You do not have to accept the first tier adjudicator's response and can escalate this to an Ombudsman proper. You are correct, the first tier adjudicator's are just gatekeepers and do try to shut the door in your face if they can.

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I have had a similar experience with the adjudicator.


My bank, Halifax, lent me nearly £10K worth of money that I have no way of paying back.


In my omplaint to the FOS I submitted evidence via email of the Halifax lending criteria at the time of a personal loan being given, and I had heavily quoted parts of the lending code.


The adjudicator had ignored this as evidence, as did the Ombudsman, Nickolas Atkinson.


In their final response, they failed to acknowledge the lending code and lending criteria.


I told them politely where to go and told the where to poke their decision.


I am a vulnerable customer as I am registered disabled with numerous health issues, the Ombudsman failed to take this into account also.


I told them that their service was a bloody disgrace; what is the point of an Ombudsman if they dont help vulnerable customer from financial bullying by banks?


And also, what is the point of a lending criteria or lending code if banks breach it and no action has been taken?


I have also sent a very lengthy email of complaint to Lord Hunt who is Chairman of the lending standard board.


I have yet to hear from him, but I dont hold my breath.


In my view, the FOS are just a waste of space.

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I found that the FoS ombudsman was easily steered by the bank into my complaint being a DPA issue. The Ombudsman like that because they can drop the complaint in the bank's favour with no further discussion - the FoS don't adjudicate on privacy issues and won't dig into it to see if it really is a DPA matter or not

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  • 2 weeks later...

Has anyone referred the service issues with the Independent Assessor? I'm considering doing so after having some of my issues upheld by the adjudicator's Head of Department (who interestingly declined multiple offers by me to chat through some of the issues). I've always been polite and you can't control the voice/ tone that someone else 'hears' when reading text, so I find it beneficial to speak to your 'judge and jury' before they make a decision. I've also offered to have this 're-adjudicated' with appropriate care and attention which means that this would be a two stage process as per the FOS rules rather than the 'one' that I've been given.



The telling aspect which was not upheld was the extremely short timescale spent reviewing the case, which was so short that it was physically impossible to conduct a thorough investigation. I had a previous complaint with the FOS that upheld a similar difficulty I was facing with a bank (ie non provision of data/ information). I requested for this file to be reviewed. Now I'm still in contact with the bank after the final decision for the last case and the bank has recently requested electronic or paper copies of some of the documents contained within that file. The adjudicator for that file has taken a while (over a week, which is what the adjudicator took to conclude the current case) from the archive. I understand that documents are electronically stored also by the FOS, but the adjudicator for the previous case has had to source it from the archive. Physically, this made any review of this case by the adjudicator of the current case seem impossible.



The Head of Department has stated the following rather pre-prepared, generic and in my opinion, rather deflecting comments:

"You have again raised points about the information that the adjudicator reviewed and considered and this is not something that I can intervene with."


"A lot of our customers are anxious to receive our response to their cases. So we encourage our adjudicators to investigate their cases and communicate their opinions as quickly as possible."




"I should explain that it is down to the adjudicator to direct their investigation as they see fit. This means deciding what information to request and what weight to place on that information. "

I therefore believe that an adjudicator can deny the right to a complainant (or firm!) the right to a two stage process. If an adjudicator simply cannot be bothered, then they can just say whatever they like in a conclusion and pass it on to an Ombudsman. No wonder the waiting time for a case to reach an Ombudsman's desk is over 6 months (as confirmed by the adjudicator's manager).

The second quote above is shocking. I think all customers would be anxious to have a 'proper' adjudication rather than a potentially negligent one, purely based on time, especially when it took an extraordinary amount of time to reach an adjudicator's desk. The problem with that time delay, was my 'fault' apparently. The CD I sent with data was fine, but they had difficulties finding a place to file the documents.

I'd be interested in hearing anyone else's experience with the IA if you've gone through that process!



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As an update. I asked for an extension to provide the information to the Ombudsman, which needs to be substantially large given the incompetence of the adjudicator. I want to leave nothing to chance.



I asked about the FOS' reasonable adjustment policy and no one there had a clue what I was talking about. I also provided a letter from my GP to state that I required the extension as the FOS process itself was causing unnecessary stress.



I was given 1, yes one working day extension.



So, Lucky7even, you may have a point about the FOS not taking into account individual circumstances. Seems hypocritical when you read 'Issue 123 Jan/Feb 2015' on the FOS' Ombudsman's News section on their website.

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  • 2 months later...
The adjudicator had never even heard of a 'grant of probate', which is shocking. So how did they make a decision upon my rights as executor? Yep, you got it, they couldn't be bothered to find out and made up their own version of the Administration of Estates Act! ... The adjudicator was extremely inexperienced. ... Two days later, I received a letter (the adjudicator took less than a week in total to conclude their findings on a complex matter)... The whole process is bizarre. They quite clearly have no idea what they are doing ... I don't see the point in their existence and have absolutely no confidence in the FOS now as it seems like a big game for firms to play with.


Apparently, adjudicators receive only a week's training, and the focus is on rejecting cases. Read the quotes at the end of this, a lot of people will identify with what is said:




It is more or less a PR exercise.

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See also this, how the "other side" is advised to secure a positive FOS decision for themselves.




I think they are wrong in the second paragraph of the last "P" - the courts are not less complainant-friendly if you have a good case and prepare it properly.

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My current PPI with hsbc on a flexi loan is amusing.


As you know they have to put you back in the position you were in before taking the product.


HSBC had agreed the mis-sale

They also agreed the premiums charged


These were charged to my current account hat was always in overdraft

So I stated I wanted account reconstructed to take into account the premiums, any compound interest charged on those and any charges triggered (And interest attached to those charges) by the accruing balance that should not have been there.


Adjudicators response?


You chose to have the premiums paid into your current account so overdraft APR interest charged on them is your fault......

Therefore NATWEST will not be making a better offer.


Couldn't even get the name of the bank right.......


Now waiting on the appeal to Ombudsmen








The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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