Financial Services and Products
Financial services and products include, amongst other things, current accounts, loans, credit cards, mortgages, insurance and financial advice.
What the law says
Most financial services are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) an independent regulator set up by Parliament. The Financial Ombudsman Service was established by Parliament to settle individual complaints between consumers and businesses providing financial services. They can look at complaints about a wide range of financial matters including the 56,000 businesses regulated by the FCA.
What to do if you have a complaint
If you feel that your financial services provider has acted unreasonably you should complain to them first to give them a chance to put things right.
You can usually make a complaint by telephone, by letter, or face to face. Try to have all the information you need before you start. Here are some useful tips:
- State your case clearly and include any relevant dates. Put the facts down in a sensible order. Avoid unnecessary detail and repetition;
- Include any reference numbers – for example for the product you bought, the account you hold or a customer reference;
- Send copies of documents, if they are relevant, but always keep the originals;
- Every time you write, keep a copy of your own letter for reference;
- If you are complaining by telephone, make a note of the date of the conversation, the name of the person you talked to and the main points you made. Write a follow-up letter or email to confirm what was said or agreed; and
- If you are still unhappy at how they have dealt with your complaint you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service. The Ombudsman can also help if you have any general questions about making a complaint.
Money and Pensions Service
The Money and Pensions Service exists to enable people to make the most of their money and pensions. The service was created under the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 and brings together the services of the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service, and Pension Wise. They work across five key areas:
- Pensions guidance – including information about workplace and personal pensions: https://www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/
- Money guidance – information designed to enhance people's understanding and knowledge of financial matters and day-to-day money management skills: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en
- Debt advice - to provide people in England with information and advice on debt: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/debt-advice-locator , and
- Consumer protection and strategy.
Advice NI is a membership organisation for the independent advice network in Northern Ireland. Their members offer free, independent, high quality advice on issues such as benefits, debt, housing, employment, tax and consumer rights.
Advice NI also provides a range of advice services, which you can access through a dedicated Freephone or email:
Debt and Money, 0800 028 1881 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tax and Benefits, 0800 988 2377 or email@example.com
Welfare Reform 0808 802 0020 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Business Debt 0800 083 8018 or email@example.com
You can find further information on Advice NI’s services or your nearest advice centre on their website – www.adviceni.net
Christians Against Poverty NI
Christians Against Poverty can help if you are feeling the weight of debt, struggling to find work or just need a bit of help budgeting. They provide free Debt Help, Job Clubs and CAP Money Courses. CAP can provide a home visit, work out a realistic budget that prioritises your essential bills and can negotiate affordable payments with each creditor. CAP can help you to set up a debt management plan, walk you through insolvency options and you will be supported by CAP until you are debt free.
All of their services are given freely for everyone regardless of age, gender, faith or background.
To find out where your nearest Debt Centre, Job Club or CAP Money Course is then just use the postcode search on their website: https://capuk.org/i-want-help or call CAP free on 0800 328 0006
StepChange Debt Charity
For over 25 years, StepChange Debt Charity has been helping people resolve problems, repay debts and rebuild lives. They are the UK’s largest provider of genuinely free independent debt advice and managed solutions, helping over 620,000 people a year.
Contact: Freephone 0800 138 1111