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Disputes and the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman

Given the complicated nature of policies and accounts, it's hardly surprising that more and more consumers are resorting to the insurance and savings Ombudsman to resolve a problem with providers or banks. When your complaining letters receive no response, the intervention of the Ombudsman can often provide a satisfactory resolution.

The consumer's friend

The role of the insurance and savings Ombudsman will depend on the nature of your dispute. They do not take sides, but in general their office is a valuable resort for the consumer faced with intransigent or unresponsive financial institutions.

With savings accounts, disputes may focus on misleading interest rates, penalty clauses and deductions of interest. If a consumer feels they were misled or that their bank of building society has erred, the Financial Ombudsman's office can clarify the situation.

In the case of insurance, the role of the Ombudsman has become more significant in recent years with the proliferation of cases regarding consumers being missold inappropriate or uneccessary insurance policies.

Remarkably, in the case of payment protection insurance (PPI) the Financial Ombudsman's involvement has upheld complaints in 74% of cases.

The service is free. In most cases they endeavour to reach a solution within months, although more complicated insurance disputes can take longer.

If there is a problem with insurance and savings, the Ombudsman may require copies of statements and correspondence, so it is vital to retain all the relevant paperwork and pertinent emails.

Consumers should be aware that in some financial disputes there are time limits on when a complaint can be made.

Settling a dispute

While it can be tempting to consult the insurance and savings Ombudsman in every instance, it is reasonable to give the financial institution adequate opportunity to rectify the dispute first. Occasionally, merely mentioning the intention to consult the Ombudsman in your correspondence can result in a quicker resolution to the problem.

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