EQUITABLE LIFE MEMBERS
CONSUMER COMPLAINTS AND THE OMBUDSMAN SCHEME
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 05:56 PM
COMPLAINTS AND THE OMBUDSMAN SCHEME
If you have a consumer complaint about Equitable you can go through the Financial Ombudsman. If you have a complaint about the FSA itself, the Treasury or the DTI you should go through the FSA Ombudsman (as of November 2001). Originally this was through the Parliamentary Ombudsman (this requires you to go through your MP). The time limit for complaining to the Financial Services Ombudsman is normally no more than six years after the event or, if later, three years from the time you became aware, or could reasonably have become aware, that you had cause for complaint. If you decide to complain, you should do so sooner rather than later.
You can also go directly to a solicitor or if the amount you feel you have lost is less than £5,000 you can go through the small claims court. Contact your County Court in the telephone directory. You will have to pay a small fee.
NB If you are still in Equitable or left after February 2002, you cannot make a claim for mis-selling relating to the GAR issue on any policies you still held after the Compromise was completed in February, as all members waived these rights in acceptance of the compromise. You can however claim for mis-selling if you had terminated the policy before the Compromise, even if you still hold other policies with Equitable Life.
On November 30, 2001, the Financial Ombudsman Service became the single ombudsman for consumer complaints about financial products and services. It took over the Banking and Building Societies Ombudsmen; the Insurance and Investment Ombudsmen; the Personal Investment Authority (PIA) Ombudsman; and the Securities and Futures Authority (SFA) Complaints Bureau.
The Financial Ombudsman Service can help resolve disputes where the consumer has already complained to a financial firm and remains dissatisfied. The firm the complaint is made about could be a bank, building society, insurance company, investment firm, financial adviser or stockbroker.
For more details ring 0845 080 1800 or write to The Financial Ombudsman Service, South Quay Plaza, 183 Marsh Wall, London E14 9SR, or access the website address on www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk
It has been suggested that all with profits members were in fact mis-sold their pension policies. There is an Ombudsman, but you have to write to the Compliance Officer at Equitable Life first stating the reason you feel that you were mis-sold your policy. You do not have to go through the Ombudsman scheme you can go directly to court yourself, (providing you have not waived your rights to do this during the Compromise) click here for more details.
WHAT DO DO
1. Write to the Compliance Officer of ELAS
2. Head your letter
9. Keep a copy of the letter
The firm should investigate your complaint and write back explaining the outcome
of its investigation. This realistically should happen within 2 months.
The FSA supply several publications on Consumer Complaints and also the Ombudsman Scheme. You can get a copy by phoning the Consumer Help line on 0845 606 1234 you will have to go through several menus, but the choice you want is Ordering a Publication, (don't press 3 for Equitable Life Policy Statement.) You can also view the Consumer Complaints Publications on the FSA website. Scroll down to Financial Planning and Advice. You will need Acrobat Reader software to access the detail though.
The report you need is FSA Guide to Making a Complaint (revised)
The Financial Ombudsman is www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk
0845 080 1800 for help with the complaint form. (You can fill it in on line)
The Pensions Advisory Service can be found at www.opas.org.uk
NB. The FSA Ombudsman, for complaints against the FSA.
The FSA Ombudsman's address is:
The Parliamentary Ombudsman (Ann Abraham), for complaints against the regulators, can be found on www.ombudsman.org.uk. She must be contacted through your MP. The PO is currently undertaking a full inquiry into Equitable Life.