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DISP 2.7 Is the complainant eligible?

DISP 2.7.1RRP

A complaint may only be dealt with under the Financial Ombudsman Service if it is brought by or on behalf of an eligible complainant.121

121
DISP 2.7.2RRP

A complaint may be brought on behalf of an eligible complainant (or a deceased person who would have been an eligible complainant) by a person authorised by the eligible complainant or authorised by law. It is immaterial whether the person authorised to act on behalf of an eligible complainant is himself an eligible complainant.121

Eligible complainants

DISP 2.7.3RRP

An eligible complainant must be a person that is:121

  1. (1)

    a private individual;

  2. (2)

    a business, which has a group annual turnover of less than ?1 million at the time the complainant refers the complaint to the respondent;

  3. (3)

    a charity which has an annual income of less than £1 million at the time the complainant refers the complaint to the respondent; or

  4. (4)

    a trustee of a trust which has a net asset value of less than £1 million at the time the complainant refers the complaint to the respondent.

DISP 2.7.4GRP
121

A business includes a sole trader, a company, an unincorporated body and a partnership carrying on any trade or profession. A subsidiary of a corporate group will be eligible only where the corporate group as a whole meets the turnover test.121

DISP 2.7.5GRP

If a respondent is in doubt about the eligibility of a business, charity or trust, it should treat the complainant as if it were eligible. If the complaint is referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Ombudsman will determine eligibility by reference to appropriate evidence, such as audited accounts or VAT returns.121

DISP 2.7.6RRP

To be an eligible complainant a person must also have a complaint which arises from matters relevant to one or more of the following relationships with the respondent:121

  1. (1)

    the complainant is (or was) a customer of the respondent;

  2. (2)

    the complainant is (or was) a potential customer of the respondent;

  3. (3)

    the complainant is the holder, or the beneficial owner, of units in a collective investment scheme and the respondent is the operator or depositary of the scheme;

  4. (4)

    the complainant is a beneficiary of, or has a beneficial interest in, a personal pension scheme or stakeholder pension scheme;

  5. (5)

    the complainant is a person for whose benefit a contract of insurance was taken out or was intended to be taken out with or through the respondent;

  6. (6)

    the complainant is a person on whom the legal right to benefit from a claim against the respondent under a contract of insurance has been devolved by contract, assignment, subrogation or legislation (save the European Community (Rights against Insurers) Regulations 2002);

  7. (7)

    the complainant relied in the course of his business on a cheque guarantee card issued by the respondent;

  8. (8)

    the complainant is the true owner or the person entitled to immediate possession of a cheque or other bill of exchange, or of the funds it represents, collected by the respondent for someone else's account;

  9. (9)

    the complainant is the recipient of a banker's reference given by the respondent;

  10. (10)

    the complainant gave the respondent a guarantee or security for:

    1. (a)

      a mortgage;

    2. (b)

      a loan;

    3. (c)

      an actual or prospective regulated consumer credit agreement;

    4. (d)

      an actual or prospective regulated consumer hire agreement; or

    5. (e)

      any linked transaction as defined in the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (as amended);

  11. (11)

    the complainant is a person about whom information relevant to his financial standing is or was held by the respondent in operating a credit reference agency as defined by section 145(8) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (as amended);

  12. (12)

    the complainant is a person:222

    222
    1. (a)

      from whom the respondent has sought to recover payment under aregulated consumer credit agreement or regulated consumer hire agreement in carrying on debt-collecting as defined by section 145(7) of the Consumer Credit Act (1974) (as amended); or 22 2

    2. (b)

      in relation to whom the respondent has sought to perform duties, or exercise or enforce rights, on behalf of the creditor or owner, under aregulated consumer credit agreement or regulated consumer hire agreement in carrying on debt administration as defined by section 145(7A) of the Consumer Credit Act (1974) (as amended); 22 2

  13. (13)

    the complainant is a beneficiary under a trust or estate of which the respondent is trustee or personal representative.

DISP 2.7.7GRP

121DISP 2.7.6R (5)and DISP 2.7.6R (6) include, for example, employees covered by a group permanent health policy taken out by an employer, which provides in the insurance contract that the policy was taken out for the benefit of the employee.

DISP 2.7.8GRP

121In the Compulsory Jurisdiction, under the Ombudsman Transitional Order and the Mortgages and General Insurance Complaints Transitional Order, where a complainant:

  1. (1)

    wishes to have a relevant new complaint or a relevant transitional complaint dealt with by the Ombudsman; and

  2. (2)

    is not otherwise eligible; but

  3. (3)

    would have been entitled to refer an equivalent complaint to the former scheme in question immediately before the relevant transitional order came into effect;

if the Ombudsman considers it appropriate, he may treat the complainant as an eligible complainant.

Exceptions

DISP 2.7.9RRP

121The following are not eligible complainants:

  1. (1)

    (in all jurisdictions) a firm, licensee or VJ participant whose complaint relates in any way to an activity which:

    1. (a)

      the firm itself has permission to carry on; or

    2. (ab)
    3. (b)

      the licensee or VJ participant itself conducts;

and which is subject to the Compulsory Jurisdiction, the Consumer Credit Jurisdiction or the Voluntary Jurisdiction;

  1. (2)

    (in the Compulsory Jurisdiction) a complainant, other than a trustee of a pension scheme trust, who was:

    1. (a)

      a professional client; or

    2. (b)

      an eligible counterparty;

    in relation to the firm and activity in question at the time of the act or omission which is the subject of the complaint; and

  2. (3)

    (in the Consumer Credit Jurisdiction):

    1. (a)

      a body corporate;

    2. (b)

      a partnership consisting of more than three persons;

    3. (c)

      a partnership all of whose members are bodies corporate; or

    4. (d)

      an unincorporated body which consists entirely of bodies corporate.

DISP 2.7.10GRP

121In the Compulsory Jurisdiction, in relation to relevant new complaints under the Ombudsman Transitional Order and relevant transitional complaints under the Mortgages and General Insurance Complaints Transitional Order:

  1. (1)

    where the former scheme in question is the Insurance Ombudsman Scheme, a complainant is not to be treated as an eligible complainant unless:

    1. (a)

      he is an individual; and

    2. (b)

      the relevant new complaint does not concern aspects of a policy relating to a business or trade carried on by him;

  2. (2)

    where the former scheme in question is the GISC facility, a complainant is not to be treated as an eligible complainant unless:

    1. (a)

      he is an individual; and

    2. (b)

      he is acting otherwise than solely for the purposes of his business; and

  3. (3)

    where the former scheme in question is the MCAS scheme, a complainant is not to be treated as an eligible complainant if:

    1. (a)

      the relevant transitional complaint does not relate to a breach of the Mortgage Code published by the Council of Mortgage Lenders;

    2. (b)

      the complaint concerns physical injury, illness, nervous shock or their consequences; or

    3. (c)

      the complainant is claiming a sum of money that exceeds £100,000.