Financial Mis-selling

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If your bank or another financial company sold you a product that wasn’t suitable for you, you might get compensation if you make a complaint. If you are unhappy with your firm’s response, the Financial Ombudsman Service or Pensions Ombudsman might accept and investigate your complaint for free.

Mis-selling means that you were given unsuitable advice, the risks were not explained to you or you were not given the information you needed and ended up with a product that isn’t right for you.

Financial services must be sold to you in a manner that is fair, clear and not misleading.

Key things to remember about financial mis-selling:

  • It’s not about whether you lost money  even if you didn’t lose out, if the product isn’t right for you – perhaps it’s a riskier investment than you wanted – you can still make a complaint about financial mis-selling.
  • You can’t complain just because an investment performed badly  some investments are risky, and if you take a gamble you have to accept that you might lose. But you can complain if you weren’t told about the risk.

Examples of financial mis-selling:

Mis-sold mortgage examples (including endowments)

Some ways you might have been mis-sold a mortgage:

  • your mortgage end date is after your retirement date.
  • you weren’t told about the commission the adviser would receive from the lender.
  • you were advised to self-certify (borrow money without proving your income) or overstate your income in order to borrow more.
  • you were advised to switch lenders and weren’t told about the fees and penalties.
  • you were given a fixed-rate mortgage and told to remortgage to a better deal later on, then incurred penalties for leaving the fixed rate early.

Mis-sold investment examples

Some ways you might have been mis-sold your investment:

  • you weren’t told about the risk involved.
  • you weren’t told how your money would be invested.
  • the product didn’t suit your needs or attitude to risk that you discussed with the adviser.

Act quickly

If you want to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service there is a time limit of six years from when you were sold the product, or three years from when you noticed (or ought reasonably to have become aware) something was wrong – whichever is later.

There are some very limited circumstances where the Pensions Ombudsman can investigate complaints that were not brought within the three-year period.

However, before going to the ombudsman services you need to complain to your provider.