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frequently-asked questions

This section answers a number of frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about:

complaining to the ombudsman

complaints we can't help with

when can’t  the ombudsman service help with a complaint?

We can deal with complaints about a very wide range of financial products and services– from pet insurance and payday lending to mortgages and stocks and shares.

But the rules and restrictions we have to follow mean there are some types of complaint we can’t help with. These rules can be very complex – and may depend on the exact circumstances of your case. It’s usually best to phone us, so that we can talk the situation through with you.

In particular, time limits may apply if you leave it too long to complain after you realise (or should have realised) that there’s a problem.

If we uphold a complaint, we can tell the business to compensate the consumer for losses of up to £150,000 (£100,000 for complaints we received before 1 January 2012). But most cases we deal with involve much smaller amounts than this.

Where this limit may be relevant in a complaint, we will explain as soon as possible what this could mean for both sides (see our consumer factsheet on compensation over £150,000).

The ombudsman service doesn't punish or fine financial businesses. And we don’t monitor (or "regulate") businesses to make sure they follow the rules. This is the job of the regulator,  the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

If you ask us to look into your complaint, we will explain any particular rules and restrictions that may apply in your own individual case - and we will always give you the chance to query anything you don’t understand. If you’re not sure if your complaint is one we can help with, just ask us.