The Financial Ombudsman Service is an impartial body that works to resolve financial disputes between consumers and financial providers. It has the power to make binding decisions when it comes to the resolution of disputes between consumers and financial providers, and it is often seen as a last resort in cases where no resolution can be achieved through other means. In this article, we’ll take a look at how financial ombudsman decisions are made, and what it means for consumers.
What is the Financial Ombudsman Service?
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an independent body set up by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It provides consumers with an impartial, free and independent service to resolve disputes between them and their financial providers. It can consider complaints about a wide range of financial services, including banking, insurance, investments and credit. The service is designed to help consumers who have been unable to resolve their issues directly with their financial provider.
What Can the Financial Ombudsman Do?
The Financial Ombudsman Service can hear complaints from consumers about financial services and make decisions which are binding on both the consumer and the financial provider. The Ombudsman can consider the facts of the case and make a decision as to whether the financial provider has acted fairly, or if it has breached the rules and regulations of the Financial Conduct Authority. If the Ombudsman finds that the financial provider has acted unfairly, it can make a decision to order the provider to make a financial award to the consumer, or to agree to a change in the terms and conditions of the service provided to the consumer.
How Does the Financial Ombudsman Reach a Decision?
The Financial Ombudsman Service will assess each case on its individual merits. The Ombudsman will consider all relevant evidence, including any documents or information provided by the consumer and the financial provider, and will make a decision based on the evidence presented. The Ombudsman will take into account the rules and regulations of the Financial Conduct Authority, as well as any relevant legal or industry codes of practice. The Ombudsman will also consider any relevant case law when making a decision.
When Can the Financial Ombudsman Make a Decision?
The Financial Ombudsman can only make a decision if the consumer has first attempted to resolve the dispute directly with their financial provider. The consumer must have given the financial provider eight weeks to attempt to resolve the issue. If the consumer is not satisfied with the outcome, or the financial provider has not responded within eight weeks, the consumer can then refer the complaint to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will then make a decision as to how the dispute should be resolved.
What Happens After a Financial Ombudsman Decision is Made?
Once the Financial Ombudsman has made a decision, the financial provider must abide by the decision and make any payments or changes that the Ombudsman has ordered. If the financial provider does not comply with the decision, the Ombudsman can take enforcement action against them. This may include imposing a fine or other sanctions on the financial provider.
What if I Don’t Agree with the Financial Ombudsman Decision?
If you do not agree with the decision made by the Financial Ombudsman, you can appeal the decision. You must first write to the Ombudsman explaining your reasons for appealing the decision, and you must provide evidence to support your appeal. If the Ombudsman decides that the appeal should be heard, they will set up a hearing to review the decision. The Ombudsman may then make a new decision based on the evidence presented at the hearing.
Financial ombudsman decisions are binding on both consumers and financial providers, and it is important that consumers understand the process and the decisions made by the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will assess each case on its individual merits and will consider all relevant evidence when making a decision. It is also possible to appeal the decision of the Ombudsman if you do not agree with it. By understanding the process and the decisions made by the Financial Ombudsman, consumers can be better informed when it comes to resolving financial disputes.