The way that a Business Banking Dispute case is constructed can be a deciding factor in
success or failure for a complaint through the Financial Ombudsman Service.
IBAS experience is that FOS complaints need to be properly constructed and require careful
research covering the whole period of the banking complaint including the initial complaint
to the bank (which is often verbally made but will be noted by the bank and produced
later) - onwards.
Thatʼs because your bank will use the material they have in their files (which will include
telephone conversations with you) to construct the bank ʼs ʻFinal Responseʼ letter to enable
them to dilute, refute or deny business banking dispute claims and complaints.
Banks rarely say ʻwe are wrongʼ. If they know they are wrong, itʼs much more likely that
they will maintain their innocence. That will delay the complaint being made formally.
Bank tactics of denial have been very effective over a very long period of time, particularly
when used in an FOS directed ʻFinal Letterʼ which a bank will construct to address a
business banking complaint when made by a business customer direct to the bank.
time the bankʼs legal team will have identified and will focus upon their facts, your inaction
and the legalities in drafting their “Final Letterʼ.
If your case has been poorly presented and not properly researched the bank will identify
that quickly and the Final Letter will ʻshowʼ the bankʼs superior position so that the
FOS can use or ʻadoptʼ those into their Response to you.
If the bank makes any concession in their ʻFinal Letterʼ that will be ʻdownplayedʼ and may
not be of any real financial value - as the intention is to obtain a swift closure to your
complaint at a very low cost to the bank, regardless of the cost to you or your business.
We are aware that business customers perceive the FOS route as being a very low cost
and also simple to use as an alternative to the courts and bank litigation. However, when
the business customerʼs complaints are poorly presented and non factual it will
immediately devalue that complaint.
Poor preparation for an FOS Business Banking complaint will obtain:
a) a poor result for
b) may also prevent your case from being properly negotiated later if the FOS then
makes a Final Decision in favour of the bank.
Banks have been ʻgearedʼ to using the FOS procedures for the bankʼs benefit since 1985 when the Banking Ombudsman was first introduced by government.
When the FOS
replaced the banking Ombudsman in 2002 and absorbed all existing ombudsman into
one entity (FOS) the banks adapted quickly to utilize the new FOS procedures.
To streamline the FOS complaints the FOS use a ʻtick boxʼ analysis. This FOS procedures allows the banks to target business banking complaints better and
to block or ʻturnʼ them (for the bank advantage) into a complaint which the FOS cannot accept or which the FOS will not investigate.
For those businesses or directors who do not research their case properly the FOS 'tick
box' analysis is the first obstacle at which their complaint may well fail.
An FOS business banking dispute case generally has just one real opportunity to be
ʻinvestigatedʼ by the FOS.
If your complaint fails the FOSʼs initial ʻanalysisʼ of what the FOS consider to be a viable or
worthwhile complaint it will not be accepted by the FOS.
The bankʼs analysis of complaint letters examine every word you use. They will know from
their analysis of your complaint exactly what the FOS analysis will then produce and the
bank will be able to predict the FOS decision.
Often, the bank will prepare for litigation at that time (or may have already decided on your
complaints legal position prior to their ʻFinal Letterʼ) at will be aware how the FOS decision will ʻplay outʼ for their benefit.
IBAS early involvement in a business banking dispute claim can prevent an 'easy route' being 'open' for the bank which they can use to eliminates the unwary business customer's FOS complaint.
IBAS early involvement in your business banking dispute claim will also enable IBAS to discuss your complaint and then prepare it for best effect and then present your complaint to the FOS under our low cost membership. We will then also progress matters on your behalf which saves you time and money.
From 1st April 2019 the FOS will have new rules for SME Banking Complaints which will include many more SMEs
FCA confirms greater access for SMEs to the Financial Ombudsman Service - The changes will mean that SMEs with an annual turnover below £6.5m and fewer than 50 employees, or an annual balance sheet below £5m will now be able to refer unresolved complaints to the ombudsman service. Under the ‘near-final’ rules published today around 210,000 additional UK SMEs will be eligible to complain to the ombudsman service. - FCA - 16th October 2018
Currently the FOS Business Banking Dispute complaints position is as FCA Press Release on 16.10.18.
See also: Director's Personal Guarantee through Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) complaint
In our experience litigation is the last course of action for any Business Banking Dispute
because it is extremely expensive and time consuming but also most banking litigation
cases which do reach a conclusion end with only Banks and lawyers being winners.
IBAS knowledge and experience of the Financial Ombudsman Service complaints
handling and of the bank strategy for producing their ʻFinal Lettersʼ in answer to complaints
allows IBAS to focus on the correct business banking complaints and IBAS draft banking complaints for our
members with much more precision, whilst also preparing a better ʻdefenceʼ for that business
banking dispute debt claim should it be required.
IBAS aim is always to resolve a Business Banking Debt Claims without litigation.
most business banking dispute cases that is possible as IBAS investigations will usually produce worthwhile negotiating information.
IBAS website was launched in 1998 to help UK businesses with banking disputes.
(see BBC publication with link to IBAS in 1999) at: Your Money Not a moving account - BBC 22/07/99
IBAS has featured on BBC TV, BBC TV News, ITV News, Meridian TV and Sky TV News since 1992 and also contributed banking editorials and business banking articles for the Sunday Times, Times, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Telegraph and Daily Mirror.