Is It Worth Making A Complaint To The Financial Ombudsman?

Is It Worth Making A Complaint To The Financial Ombudsman?

At Wealth Recovery Solicitors, we work alongside other financial recovery service providers to help clients claim back lost funds. The Financial Ombudsman is one of these providers, who works to provide a solution to funds lost by businesses that are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

In newly published data, it shows that in the second half of 2023, complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) regarding financial issues increased by a fifth. The main driver of the increase was banking and credit complaints, where credit card and current account complaints made up roughly 40% of cases within the financial sector. The current account complaints were largely looking to address issues involving fraud and scams where victims had lost money through their current banking providers. 

These figures indicate that online scams are continuing to increase in volume, with more and more people falling victim. But, if you are scammed online, is it worth submitting a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman? Let’s take a closer look. 

What Is The Financial Ombudsman Service?

The FOS is an official body that was established by the UK Parliament. It looks to settle disputes between regulated UK-based companies and customers, with legal power to adjudicate disputes and complaints. FOS complaints can sometimes be a better option than obtaining action through court proceedings and rather than relying on whether laws have been broken, the FOS looks into whether a regulated company has treated customers fairly.

Submitting A Complaint To The Ombudsman

If you want to complain to the financial ombudsman, then you have to follow some steps first – you can’t just submit it. You will need to follow the complaints process of the company that you have a dispute with initially, and if they refuse to do what is asked or don’t respond at all, then you can request a ‘letter of deadlock’ which shows that you’ve done what you can to resolve the complaint. 

Once these steps have been followed, you can then complain to the financial ombudsman. Someone from the FOS will then investigate your complaint and look into evidence from both sides before looking to decide on what the outcome should be. An FOS complaint investigation can take a number of months to complete, meaning that you could be waiting some time to get a decision. At WRS, we can work on a much quicker basis if we find that your complaint is justified and something can be done about it, however, we do work closely with banks and the FOS with complaint cases to get you the best possible result. If it is found that your complaint to the financial ombudsman is justified, then you will receive recommendations for what the company at fault should do. 

Can I Make An FOS Complaint About Cryptocurrency Losses?

Although cryptocurrencies are deemed as unregulated investments, victims who have lost cryptocurrency can submit a complaint to the financial ombudsman about their banking provider who may be refusing to reimburse them following a scam or fraud. In a lot of cases regarding fraud and scams, the victim’s current account and bank are involved, which means that a case can be made. 

This is because victims will, typically, have sent funds from their accounts directly to the scammer. With cryptocurrency scams and fraud, victims will withdraw large amounts from their accounts into their chosen exchange, so a large proportion of losses are due to the bank not stepping in when spotting initial signs of wrongdoing. 

We find that, when banks are approached or questioned about why they didn’t do anything to stop the transaction from happening or when unusual transactions are made into a crypto exchange, they believe that the matter should be pursued with the crypto exchange or that the CRM code means that they aren’t required to be held accountable. But, when spending patterns are out of the ordinary, banks should ideally be investigating, which is when you can make a complaint to the financial institution

We Can Support With Complaints To The Financial Ombudsman

Although there are some instances where the FOS can help with cryptocurrency losses, the Financial Ombudsman Service currently offer little to no access to their compensation or support schemes for clients who have lost cryptocurrencies or through various other online scams. 

Josh Chinn, co-founder and solicitor at Wealth Recovery Solicitors, offers the following advice: 

“We want to be on your side when you have lost money as a result of fraud or scams due to bank negligence. If the bank initially rejected your case, then please rest assured that all hope is not lost and we can work to recover your lost funds. We have great relationships with people at high levels at the FOS, as well as a number of the main high street banks, giving us an advantage when it comes to recovering your money. If you have lost money through fraud and scams, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of solicitors to arrange a free consultation”.

Although the FOS cover a wide range of areas, including credit cards, debt collection, mortgages and loans and some scams, cryptocurrency doesn’t come under their current remit. As well as this, we can often work through cases at a much quicker pace, helping to recover your money sooner. If you have lost money through a scam or type of fraud, including cryptocurrency, then please contact our team today so that we can get your recovery started. 

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