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Financial Ombudsman Service - Financial related Institutions


Financial Ombudsman Service - Resolving disputes with financial firms


About the Financial Ombudsman Service

  • It’s the FOS's job to settle individual complaints between consumers and businesses providing financial services. If they uphold a complaint, they can order matters to be put right.
  • They were set up by parliament to do this – as independent experts – and their service is free to consumers.
  • FOS can look at complaints about a wide range of financial matters – from insurance and mortgages to investments and credit. Each year they deal with over a million enquiries and settle around 100,000 disputes.
  • They are completely independent and impartial – just as a judge would be if the consumer went to court instead.
  • They are not a regulator ("watchdog") or a trade body or a consumer champion. Their role is to settle disputes, without taking sides. So when they look at a complaint, they give both sides a fair hearing.
  • If a business isn't able to resolve a customer’s complaint on its own, FOS will see if they can help settle the dispute. But the business must first have the chance to sort things out itself.
  • They can often resolve disputes informally, but some cases are more complex and take more time. FOS aim to settle most disputes within six to nine months.
  • Consumers don’t have to accept any decision they make. They are always free to go to court instead. But if they do accept an ombudsman's decision, it is binding both on them and on the business.
  • Their service is confidential – they do not publish the names of businesses or consumers whose complaints they handle.

The Financial Ombudsman Service can look at complaints about most financial matters including, for example:

  • banking
  • insurance
  • mortgages
  • pensions
  • savings and investments
  • credit cards and store cards
  • loans and credit
  • hire purchase and pawnbroking
  • financial advice
  • stocks, shares, unit trusts and bonds.

Financial Ombudsman Service,
South Quay Plaza,
183 Marsh Wall.
E14 9SR

Consumer helpline 0845 080 1800


OCIS provide general financial information, we urge you to consult an Independent Financial Adviser ( IFA )
before making any important decisions about your finances.