Tuesday, 13 March 2018 09:17

FOS hit backs at ‘unfair’ TV show but will review allegations

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FOS Chief executive Caroline Wayman FOS Chief executive Caroline Wayman

The Financial Ombudsman Service has hit back over a Channel 4 documentary aired last night, saying it provided an “unfair impression” of the organisation.

But it will review the claims arising from the undercover operation.

The Dispatches programme contained claims that complaints were handled by FOS officials who had been insufficiently trained and had to use internet search engines to find out what the products were.

Chartered Financial Planner Martin Bamford yesterday called for a full inquiry into the allegations, which were released ahead of broadcast. His call was backed by ex-Pensions Minister Baroness Ros Altmann.

Financial Planning Today asked the FOS if it will launch an investigation and what action is being taken. The FOS was also asked for a comment from chief executive Caroline Wayman.

It pointed FP Today to a statement it has released in response, which read: “The Dispatches programme on the work of the Financial Ombudsman Service gives an unfair impression of us.

“Our role is to investigate disputes between financial businesses and their customers – making impartial decisions based on what’s fair and reasonable in each individual case.

“Every day we make difficult judgement calls that affect people’s lives. Our people are committed to doing the right thing – and we’re determined to provide a fair and trustworthy service for our customers and the best support for our staff.

“Of course, it’s always important to know where improvements can be made. A review, overseen by the non-executive board, of the concerns raised in the programme will be undertaken.”

Baroness Altmann said she had been particularly concerned by claims that FOS staff were encouraged to refuse as many complaints as possible so they did not pass too many to more senior staff. She said it was also worrying to hear FOS staff allegedly failed to understand products and were set targets for completing cases irrespective of how much paperwork was involved.

She said: “Such practices are all detrimental to consumers and suggest insufficient care and concern for the stress and distress many people suffer at the hands of financial providers.”

The FOS added: “If you’re a customer and you are concerned about a case with us, please get in touch and we’ll look into it. You can contact your case handler directly or call us on 0300 123 9 123. Our opening hours are listed here.”


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Last modified on Tuesday, 13 March 2018 09:27
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