We believe our intermediary partners don't intend for things to go wrong but unfortunately it will happen at times. How firms react can at times be more important than the issue itself.

What is a complaint?

Any verbal OR written expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, which alleges the complainant has experienced:

  • Material distress
  • Material inconvenience; or
  • Financial loss

This dissatisfaction must be in connection with a service you provide.

Investigating a complaint

When investigating a complaint, you should take the following steps:

  • Understand what has gone wrong,
  • Why it has gone wrong,
  • And if necessary, how you can make it right.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes – how would you expect the company to right the wrong you had experienced?

If you find that you’re at fault, you should be placing the customer in the same situation they would’ve been in if the error hadn’t occurred.

Complaints received about insurers

At times, customers may complain to you about their insurer. When this happens you should forward that complaint to the insurer so they are able to record and investigate that.

According to the Dispute Resolution handbook (DISP), this complaint needs to be: forwarded promptly to the firm responsible for investigating the complaint and inform the complainant in a Final Response Letter why the complaint has been forwarded.

If you have been unable to resolve the complaint

Unfortunately, there will be situations where a customer does not accept the outcome proposed to their complaint. Where this occurs, they may have the right to refer their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS will consider complaints from:

  • Micro-enterprises – Fewer than 10 employees and, has annual turn or a balance sheet that does not exceed €2 million; or
  • Small businesses – has an annual turnover of less than £6.5 million and, has a balance sheet total of less than £5million, or employs fewer than 50 people.

You must notify customers who are microenterprises and small businesses of their right to refer their complaints to the FOS. This will be contained within your final response to their complaint, or, 8 weeks following the receipt of their complaint if you haven’t issued your response letter.

Questions to ask

  • Have you logged a complaint and followed your complaints process when a customer expresses dissatisfaction at a service you provide?
  • Have you taken the time to understand what has gone wrong and why it had gone wrong?
  • Have you investigated what caused the complaint? If so, was this systemic in nature and could recur? Have you escalated the process failure for review to ensure further complaints are mitigated?
  • Do you put ourselves in the customer’s shoes? How would you feel about the resolution proposed?
  • Have you offered compensation when a substandard level of service has been provided?