The FCA's complaint handling requirements and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)

The FOS is the statutory independent adjudicator of consumer complaints linked to the supply of finance.

Firms must have their own internal complaints handling procedures and comply with rules (set out in the DISP chapter of the FCA Handbook) which set out timescales within which responses to complaints must be given to customers.

If, at the end of a firms internal complaints-handling process (generally eight weeks), the customer remains dissatisfied, they have the right to refer the complaint to the FOS for adjudication and resolution. FOS's decision is not binding on customers, who remain free to pursue their complaint in the courts if they wish: the decisions are however binding on firms if the consumer accepts them and FOS can order firms to take corrective action and where appropriate pay redress up to £355,000. 


FOS is funded by a levy paid by all finance companies according to their size and sector: in most cases they also pay a ‘case fee' for every unresolved complaint which is referred to the FOS.  The FOS can help with complaints about most financial matters involving products and services provided in (or from) the UK including:  

  • Banking
  • Credit cards and store cards
  • Loans
  • Hire Purchase and other motor finance products
  • Pawn broking 
  • Financial advice