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DISP 2.8 Was the complaint referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service in time?

General time limits6

DISP 2.8.1R

19The Ombudsman can only consider a complaint if:

  1. (1)

    the respondent has already sent the complainant its final response or summary resolution communication; or512

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  2. (2)

    eight weeks have elapsed since the respondent received the complaint; or3

  3. (3)

    in relation to a complaint the subject matter of which falls to be dealt with (or has properly been dealt with) under a consumer redress scheme:3

    1. (a)

      the respondent has already sent the complainant its redress determination under the scheme; or3

    2. (b)

      the respondent has failed to send a redress determination in accordance with the time limits specified under the scheme;411

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    unless:411

  4. (4)

    the respondent consents and:

    1. (a)

      the Ombudsman has informed the complainant that the respondent must deal with the complaint within eight weeks and that it may resolve the complaint more quickly than the Ombudsman; and

    2. (b)

      the complainant nevertheless wishes the Ombudsman to deal with the complaint.411

DISP 2.8.2R

19The Ombudsman cannot consider a complaint if the complainant refers it to the Financial Ombudsman Service:

  1. (1)

    more than six months after the date on which the respondent sent the complainant its final response, 512 redress determination or summary resolution communication512; or3

  2. (2)

    more than:

    1. (a)

      six years after the event complained of; or (if later)

    2. (b)

      three years from the date on which the complainant became aware (or ought reasonably to have become aware) that he had cause for complaint;

    unless the complainant referred the complaint to the respondent or to the Ombudsman within that period and has a written acknowledgement or some other record of the complaint having been received;

unless:

  1. (3)

    in the view of the Ombudsman, the failure to comply with the time limits in DISP 2.8.2 R or DISP 2.8.7 R210 was as a result of exceptional circumstances; or

  2. (4)

    the Ombudsman is required to do so by the Ombudsman Transitional Order; or

  3. (5)

    the respondent has consented to the Ombudsman considering the complaint where the time limits in DISP 2.8.2 R or DISP 2.8.7 R have expired (but this does not apply to a “relevant complaint” within the meaning of section 404B(3) of the Act512).411

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DISP 2.8.2AR

411If a respondent consents to the Ombudsman considering a complaint in accordance with DISP 2.8.2 R (5), the respondent may not withdraw consent.

DISP 2.8.3G

19The six-month time limit is only triggered by a response which is a final response, redress determination or summary resolution communication512. The response 411must tell the complainant about the six-month time limit that the complainant has to refer a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

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DISP 2.8.4G

19An example of exceptional circumstances might be where the complainant has been or is incapacitated.

Pensions review and FSAVC review6

DISP 2.8.5R

19The six-year and the three-year time limits do not apply where:

  1. (1)

    [deleted]3

    3
  2. (2)

    the complaint concerns a contract or policy which is the subject of a review directly or indirectly under:

    1. (a)

      the terms of the Statement of Policy on 'Pension transfers and Opt-outs' issued by the FSA on 25 October 1994; or

    2. (b)

      the terms of the policy statement for the review of specific categories of FSAVC business issued by the FSA on 28 February 2000.

Mortgage endowment complaints

DISP 2.8.6G

19If a complaint relates to the sale of an endowment policy for the purpose of achieving capital repayment of a mortgage, the receipt by the complainant of a letter which states that there is a risk (rather than a high risk) that the policy would not, at maturity, produce a sum large enough to repay the target amount is not, itself, sufficient to cause the three year time period in DISP 2.8.2R (2) to start to run.

DISP 2.8.7R
  1. (1)

    19If a complaint relates to the sale of an endowment policy for the purpose of achieving capital repayment of a mortgage and the complainant receives a letter from a firm or a VJ participant warning that there is a high risk that the policy will not, at maturity, produce a sum large enough to repay the target amount then, subject to (2), (3), (4) and (5):

    1. (a)

      time for referring a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service starts to run from the date the complainant receives the letter; and

    2. (b)

      ends three years from that date ("the final date").

  2. (2)

    Paragraph (1)(b) applies only if the complainant also receives within the three year period mentioned in (1)(b) and at least six months before the final date an explanation that the complainant's time to refer such a complaint would expire at the final date.

  3. (3)

    If an explanation is given but is sent outside the period referred to in (2), time for referring a complaint will run until a date specified in such an explanation which must not be less than six months after the date on which the notice is sent.

  4. (4)

    A complainant will be taken to have complied with the time limits in (1) to (3) above if in any case he refers the complaint to the firm or VJ participant within those limits and has a written acknowledgement or some other record of the complaint having been received.

  5. (5)

    Paragraph (1) does not apply if the Ombudsman is of the opinion that, in the circumstances of the case, it is appropriate for DISP 2.8.2R (2) to apply.

Payment protection insurance complaints

DISP 2.8.8G

713If a complaint relates to the sale of a payment protection contract, knowledge by the complainant that there was a problem with the sale of the payment protection contract generally (for example where there has been a rejection of a claim on the grounds of ineligibility or exclusion, or the complainant has received a customer contact letter explaining that they may have been mis-sold) would not in itself ordinarily be sufficient to establish for the purposes of the three-year time period in DISP 2.8.2R(2) that the complainant had become aware (or ought reasonably to have become aware) that he or she had cause for complaint in respect of a failure to make the disclosure set out at DISP App 3.3A.2E (relating to failure to disclose commission).

DISP 2.8.9R
  1. (1)

    713In addition to DISP 2.8.1R and DISP 2.8.2R, unless one or more of the conditions in (2) below is met, the Ombudsman cannot consider a complaint which:

    1. (a)

      relates to the sale of a payment protection contract that took place on or before 29 August 2017; and

    2. (b)

      expresses dissatisfaction about the sale, or matters related to the sale, including where there is a rejection of claims on the grounds of ineligibility or exclusion (but not matters unrelated to the sale, such as delays in claims handling or administrative matters such as taking the incorrect amount of premium).

  2. (2)

    The conditions are that:

    1. (a)

      the complainant referred the complaint to the respondent or to the Financial Ombudsman Service on or before 29 August 2019 and has a written acknowledgement or some other record of the complaint having been received; or

    2. (b)

      in the view of the Ombudsman, the failure to comply with the time limit in (2)(a) was as a result of exceptional circumstances; or

    3. (c)

      the respondent has consented to the Ombudsman considering the complaint where the time limit in (2)(a) has expired (but this does not apply to a “relevant complaint” within the meaning of section 404B(3) of the Act); or

    4. (d)

      the complaint:

      1. (i)

        is made on or after 29 August 2019;

      2. (ii)

        relates to the sale of a payment protection contract that was live as at 29 August 2017;

      3. (iii)

        is made following a full or partial rejection of a claim on or after 29 August 2017 on the grounds of ineligibility, exclusion or limitation

      and this condition applies only to the extent that the complaint relates to those grounds of rejection.

DISP 2.8.10G

713Where a complaint meets the requirements of DISP 2.8.9R(2)(d), those parts of the complaint that relate to the grounds of rejection of the claim are not subject to the restriction in DISP 2.8.9R(1) on an Ombudsman considering the complaint.