Complain to your bank
Find out about your bank’s complaint procedure
Under FSA rules all banks are required to have an appropriate complaints procedure. Ask to see a copy so you understand exactly how your complaint will be handled.
Make your complaint as soon as things go wrong. The longer you leave it the harder it will be to remember all the relevant details you’ll need to strengthen your case. Don’t forget, certain financial complaints have time limits so don’t miss the opportunity to put in your claim for redress.
Complain to the right person
Try to make your complaint to the person you originally dealt with. If that’s not possible, contact your bank and ask for an appropriate contact name to address your complaint to. Check their job title to make sure this is someone fairly senior.
Put your complaint in writing
You can complain by phone if you want to, but it’s generally more effective to complain in writing. A written complaint is more likely to be taken seriously.
It’s important your letter includes certain information. First of all, don’t forget to include simple but important basics such as your account or policy number. You should aim to give a brief summary of your complaint in a clear and logical manner. Don’t get too bogged down with every minute detail. Explain why you’re unhappy about the situation, and what action you expect your bank to take to resolve matters.
Ask for redress
If you think you should be compensated for the treatment you have received from your bank, make sure you say so in your complaint letter. There’s no need to be specify amounts of compensation, but make it clear that's exactly what you expect to receive.
Don’t ever be rude or abusive in any contact you have with your bank, even if you feel like you’re making little headway. It definitely won’t help your case. Keep calm and stick to the facts.
Give your bank a chance
Before you take things further, you’ll need to give your bank a reasonable opportunity to resolve your complaint. This timescale should be indicated in the bank’s complaint procedure. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get an immediate response, so be prepared to sit it out for a while.
It’s important you keep copies of correspondence between you and your bank, and any evidence you have sent to back up your case. You may need to refer to this documentation later down the line.
Don’t be fobbed off
With a bit of luck your bank will respond to your complaint letter in a satisfactory way. If that doesn’t happen and you’re unhappy with the outcome, contact the person dealing with your complaint in writing again and inform them you’ll be referring the problem to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
The FOS is an independent organisation which specifically resolves disputes between individuals and financial companies. Check out the FOS’s advice on how to complain. The FOS is completely free to use and may be able to help you claim compensation. But don’t be surprised if it takes some time to reach a resolution. If your complaint is complex it could take several months.
If you’re still not satisfied with the FOS’s final decision, you won’t be able to appeal. In this case it may be necessary to pursue your complaint through legal channels, but this will most likely incur legal fees.
Vote with your feet
After all this, you’ll probably have had more than enough of your bank. If you’ve lost faith, vote with your feet and switch. Moving current accounts is far more simple than you might think with some banks offering dedicated switching services. Choose a high interest current account or one that offers a cash incentive to switch.