Pressure rises for inquiry into FOS ‘failings’

Written by Adam Cadle

The financial ombudsman has agreed to hold an inquiry into allegations of bias against consumers and claims that its staff are inadequately trained amid fears that complaints may have been mishandled.

Pressure has been rising for an inquiry into the service’s ‘failings’ around ‘mishandled complaints’ after Channel 4’s Dispatches programme showed an employee describing how investigators had been “churning” out decisions to meet steep targets, adding that it was “not feasible” to handle all complaints.

However, in a letter addressed to the Treasury select committee, Caroline Wayman, the ombudsman’s chief executive, said its board would appoint an external figure “so we can better understand and address the concerns raised”.

Wayman said that the ombudsman feels “very strongly that the concerns voiced in the programme do not give a fair impression” of its work, but indicated that it could reopen cases.

“The circumstances in which we can reconsider a complaint are extremely limited,” she said. “We may, however, consider the matter afresh if material new evidence subsequently becomes available which the ombudsman considers likely to affect the outcome.”

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