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DISP 1.6 Complaints time limit rules

Keeping the complainant informed


On receipt of a complaint, a respondent must:

  1. (1)

    send the complainant a prompt written acknowledgement providing early reassurance that it has received the complaint and is dealing with it; and

  2. (2)

    ensure the complainant is kept informed thereafter of the progress of the measures being taken for the complaint's resolution.

Final or other response within eight weeks


The respondent must, by the end of eight weeks after its receipt of the complaint, send the complainant:

  1. (1)

    a final response; or

  2. (2)

    a written response which:

    1. (a)

      explains why it is not in a position to make a final response and indicates when it expects to be able to provide one;

    2. (b)

      informs the complainant that he may now refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service;

    3. (c)
DISP 1.6.3G

Respondents are not obliged to comply with the requirements in DISP 1.6.2 R where they are able to rely on any of the following rules:

  1. (1)

    the complainant's written acceptance rule (DISP 1.6.4 R);

  2. (2)

    the rules for respondents with two-stage complaints procedures (DISP 1.6.5 R); or

  3. (3)

    the complaints forwarding rules (DISP 1.7).

Complainant's written acceptance


DISP 1.6.2 R does not apply if the complainant has already indicated in writing acceptance of a response by the respondent, provided that the response informs the complainant how to pursue his complaint with the respondent if he remains dissatisfied.

Respondents with two-stage complaints procedures

DISP 1.6.5R

If, within eight weeks of receiving a complaint, the respondent sends the complainant a written response which:

  1. (1)

    offers redress or remedial action (whether or not it accepts the complaint) or rejects the complaint and gives reasons for doing so;

  2. (2)

    informs the complainant how to pursue his complaint with the respondent if he remains dissatisfied;

  3. (3)

    refers to the ultimate availability of the Financial Ombudsman Service if he remains dissatisfied with the respondent's response; and

  4. (4)

    indicates it will regard the complaint as closed if it does not receive a reply within eight weeks of the complainant's receipt of the response;

the respondent is not obliged to continue to comply with DISP 1.6.2 R unless the complainant indicates that he remains dissatisfied, in which case, the obligation to comply with DISP 1.6.2 R resumes.

DISP 1.6.6R

If the complainant takes more than a week to reply to a written response of the kind described in DISP 1.6.5 R, the additional time in excess of a week will not count for the purposes of the time limits in DISP 1.6.2 R or the complaints reporting rules.

Speed and quality of response


It is expected that within eight weeks of their receipt, almost all complaints to a respondent will have been substantively addressed by it through a final response or response as described in DISP 1.6.4 R or DISP 1.6.5 R.


When assessing a respondent's response to a complaint, the FSA may have regard to a number of factors, including, the quality of response, as against the complaints resolution rules, as well as the speed with which it was made.