Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is a government body that provides consumers with a free, independent service for resolving disputes with financial firms.
It deals with complaints about banking services, credit cards, endowment policies, financial and investment advice, most sorts of insurance, investment portfolio management, mortgages, personal pension plans, savings plans and accounts, stocks and shares and unit trusts and income bonds.
Consumers first have to complain to the firm in question, and if unsatisfied they can go to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The FOS is not a trade body or a consumer champion; its role is to independently settle disputes without getting the courts involved.
Consumers can challenge decisions by the FOS, and take their dispute on to court if wanted. But once a decision has been accepted by both the consumer and the financial firm in question, it is binding on both parties.
For information on how to make a confidential complaint see: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk