How to fill in the Financial Ombudsman Service complaint form This guide is designed to be printed and used along side the complaint form. Replace the information below in brackets with your personal details, then all blue text can be copied onto the relevant section of your form. IMPORTANT You will need to complete a new form for each bank you’re claiming from. If you’re claiming for more than one bank account from the same bank, use one form. Page 1 Q. First please give us your details A. Insert the name, address and phone numbers of the bank account holder. Q. If you’re complaining on behalf of a business charity or trust A. Complete this if you‟re claiming for a business bank account, otherwise ignore. The Financial Ombudsman Service cannot help businesses with a turnover of more than £1 million. Q. If someone is complaining on your behalf A. If a friend or relative is complaining on your behalf, complete this with their name, address and phone numbers, otherwise ignore. Page 2 Q. Details of the business you think is responsible for your complaint A. Fill in the name, address and phone number of the bank you‟re complaining about. This can be for either the head office or details of your own branch. Q. Details of the adviser or business who originally sold the product or service you’re complaining about A. You can ignore this section. Q The kind of product or service you’re complaining about A First box – enter the text “Bank account”. Second box – enter your sort code and bank account number (if you have more than one account with the bank then list them all). Q. Please tell us what your complaint is about A. Enter the text “I have written to my bank asking for a full refund of all the charges that have been applied to the account I hold with them as I feel the charges have been applied unfairly.” Page 3 Q. When did the advice, transaction, or poor service that you’re complaining about take place? A. Enter the date of the earliest charge you are complaining about, e.g. six years ago. (and add the note “I am attaching a full schedule of both charges and interest to this form”) Q. When did you first realise there might be a problem? A. Enter the date you first contacted the bank. This can be an estimate so you can leave off the day if you need to. Q. When did you first complain to the business you think is responsible? A. Enter the date of your first letter to the bank. Q. Has the business you’re complaining about sent you its final response? A. Tick YES if: Tick NO if: You have received a final response letter Your first letter to your bank was more from your bank than eight weeks ago and you have not You have received a letter from your resolved the complaint bank telling you to contact the FOS Q. What do you want the business you’re complaining about to do to put things right for you? A. Enter the text “I would like a full refund of the bank charges added to my account, together with the interest charges that I have incurred on top of these charges, or an alternative remedy that you feel is appropriate to my circumstances.” Q. Has there been any court action relating to your complaint or is court action planned? A. Tick NO even if you have threatened to take court action but have changed your mind. NOTE – if there has been court action the FOS will not be able to help you. Q. Have you contacted any regulator or other complaint body about your complaint? A. Tick NO. Q. Please give us any more details A. This where you need to give full details in your own words of the personal circumstances that you feel are important to your case, such as why you believe the bank hasn‟t treated you fairly and which of the human criteria you have used to complain to your bank (see example in the guide). You may be able to use some of the text from your letters to your bank, or the human criteria below, but please include as much detail as possible as your case is much more likely to be successful if there are one off circumstances that apply. Can’t pay for necessities. You‟re struggling to meet basic necessities eg mortgage, council tax, food, utility bills Can’t pay debts. You‟re struggling to make loan and credit card repayments Income eaten by charges. Your income‟s being eaten up by repaying charges (eg you‟re being asked to pay £50 of charges from a £100 weekly benefit income) Payments regularly returned. Your payments regularly get returned unpaid as you‟ve not enough money in your account Substantial drop in income. For example, you‟ve lost your job, started a lower paid job, needed to take parental or carers leave, your partner has died, you‟ve separated from your partner, you‟ve started full time education or you/your partner has been/gone to prison Disability or illness. You‟ve needed to increase spending on something due to a disability or serious illness Going bankrupt or into debt management. You‟re going bankrupt, getting an IVA or Debt Relief Order or are in a debt management plan Living off credit. You‟re living off credit and regularly need to increase your credit limit Regular credit card cash withdrawals. You are using regular cash withdrawals from credit cards to make ends meet Frequently over overdraft limit. You frequently go over your overdraft limit. In earlier incarnations of hardship rules this was explained as having more than £500 of charges a year – so that seems a good benchmark Bank charges have hurt your situation. The charges have contributed to making your financial hardship situation materially worse The charges are disproportionate. If you unintentionally slipped over your limit by a few pounds and the charge is a lot higher than the „offence‟ eg you go £1 over but charged £35. You are / were stuck in a cycle of charges you cannot break out off. If you‟ve had charges on charges, and were stuck in a trap of not being able to clear them before new daily or monthly fees are added on top. Page 4 Q. Finally, please read and sign this declaration A. Sign and date on the lines provided. If you are completing the form for someone else, this should be the person who holds the account. NOTE – Have you included all copies of letters to and from your bank (you should keep the originals) and a list of the charges and interest you‟re claiming? Now send the completed form to the address listed on the form.