The Financial Ombudsman Service: Resolving Disputes

25th of April 2023

Who are FOS? And What Do You Need To Know About Them?


Well that’s the question we all want answering, otherwise you wouldn’t be here on this blog.


The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an independent body that resolves disputes with financial companies in the UK for the consumer, for free. FOS was established in 2000, and since then has been an integral resource for those unable to resolve complaints themselves through company's internal complaints process.


The Role of the Financial Ombudsman Service


The Financial Ombudsman Service deals with wide range of complaints regarding financial products and services. Examples of these include: banking, credit, insurance, investments, and pensions. The service is designed to be accessible and simple to use and, as mentioned above, entirely free for consumers.


Initially FOS will investigate the issues that make up the complaint. They gather evidence and act in an un-bias matter, considering the consumers and the financial company's views. The FOS will then make a decision based on what it believes to be fair and reasonable in the circumstances.


If the FOS decides that the consumer has been treated unfairly, it has the power to require the financial company to take action to put things right. This could include paying compensation or changing its policies and procedures to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.


Statistics on the Financial Ombudsman Service


In 2020-21, the Financial Ombudsman Service received 270,976 new complaints, down from 388,392 in the previous year. This decrease is likely to be a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted consumer behavior and the financial industry's ability to process complaints effectively.


The most complained-about financial product in 2020-21 was payment protection insurance (PPI), with 28,124 complaints received. PPI complaints have been on the decline since the 2018 deadline for making PPI claims, but they still make up a significant proportion of the FOS's workload.


There is still much work to be done to ensure all financial companies treat their customers fairly, as you can see by these figures below.

Other products that generated a significant number of complaints in 2020-21 included:


The Financial Ombudsman Service is an essential free, impartial resource for consumers who have been unable to resolve complaints with financial companies directly. The statistics in this blog alone show just how important it is to have a service like this.