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Status: You are viewing the version of the handbook as on 2005-06-30.

DISP 3.2 The investigation and consideration of complaints by the Ombudsman

DISP 3.2.1RRP

On receipt of a complaint (and subsequently if necessary) the Ombudsman must have regard to the following matters:

  1. (1)

    whether or not the complaint meets the criteria in DISP 2.2 (Which complaints can be dealt with under the Financial Ombudsman Service?);

  2. (2)

    whether or not the complaint is within the time limits in DISP 2.3 (Time limits for referral of complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service);

  3. (3)

    whether or not the complainant is an eligible complainant; and

  4. (4)

    whether or not the complaint is one which should be dismissed without consideration of its merits under DISP 3.3(Dismissal of complaints without consideration of the merits).

DISP 3.2.2RRP

In the case of relevant new complaints, the Ombudsman will take account of the relevant criteria under the Ombudsman Transitional Order, referred to in DISP 2.2.2 G, and will extend the time limits in DISP 2.3, as required under article 4(2) of the Ombudsman Transitional Order and described in DISP 2.3.2 G.

DISP 3.2.3RRP

Where the firm has not had the eight weeks provided for under DISP 1.4.5 R to consider the complaint, the Ombudsman will refer the complaintto the firm, unless the firm has already issued a final response.

DISP 3.2.4RRP

Where a firm fails to send a complainant a final response by the end of eight weeks, the Ombudsman may consider the complaint.

DISP 3.2.5RRP

Where the Ombudsman considers that the complaint or the complainant may be ineligible under the jurisdiction rules (see DISP 2 (Jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service)) he must give the complainant an opportunity to make representations before he reaches his decision and he must give reasons to the complainant for that decision and inform the firm of his decision.

DISP 3.2.6RRP

DISP 3.2.5 R applies without prejudice to a firm's right to raise the issue of eligibility subsequently.

DISP 3.2.7R

Where the firm disputes the eligibility of the complaint or the complainant, the Ombudsman must give the parties an opportunity to make representations before he reaches his decision and he must give reasons to the parties for that decision.

DISP 3.2.8R

Where the Ombudsman considers that the complaint may be one which should be dismissed without consideration of its merits, under DISP 3.3 (Dismissal of complaints without consideration of the merits), he must give the complainant an opportunity to make representations before he makes his decision. If he then decides that the complaint should be dismissed, he must give reasons to the complainant for that decision and inform the firm of that decision.

DISP 3.2.9R

Where the Ombudsman considers that both the complaint and the complainant are eligible and that there is a reasonable prospect of resolving the complaint by mediation, he may attempt to negotiate a settlement between the parties.

DISP 3.2.10G

The Ombudsman will attempt to resolve complaints at the earliest possible stage and by whatever means appear to him to be most appropriate, including mediation or investigation.

DISP 3.2.11R

If the Ombudsman decides that an investigation is necessary, he will:

  1. (1)

    during the investigation, give both parties an opportunity of making representations;

  2. (2)

    send to the parties a provisional assessment, setting out his reasons and a time limit within which either party must respond; and

  3. (3)

    if either party indicates disagreement with the provisional assessment within the time limit prescribed in DISP 3.2.11 R (2), proceed to determination (see DISP 3.8 (Determination by the Ombudsman)).

DISP 3.2.12R

The parties will be informed of their right to make representations before the Ombudsman makes a determination. If he considers that the complaint can be fairly determined without convening a hearing, he will determine the complaint. If not, he will invite the parties to attend a hearing. No hearing will be held after the Ombudsman has determined the complaint.

DISP 3.2.13R

A party who wishes to request a hearing must do so in writing, setting out the issues he wishes to raise and (if appropriate) any reasons why he considers the hearing should be in private, so that the Ombudsman may consider whether the issues are material, whether a hearing should take place and, if so, whether it should be held in public or private.

DISP 3.2.14G

In deciding if there should be a hearing and, if so, whether it should be in public or private, the Ombudsman will have regard to the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.