Financial Ombudsman Service—time limits
Financial Ombudsman Service—time limits

The following Financial Services guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Financial Ombudsman Service—time limits
  • ADR Directive—what changed?
  • FOS—time limits
  • Outside the scope of the general time-limit rules

The time limits which apply to a complaint taken to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) are set out in Chapter two of the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) Dispute Resolution: Complaints Sourcebook (DISP). DISP 2.8.1 R states that the FOS cannot consider a complaint:

  1. that was brought to them after six months of the respondent sending the complainant their final response, redress determination (issued under a consumer redress scheme) or summary resolution communication (summary resolution communication as defined under DISP 1.5.4 R), or

  2. if it was received over six years after the event happened, or three years after the complainant became aware, or should have reasonably been aware that they had a complaint to raise

Previously the FOS would only look into the why the consumer may have brought the complaint outside of these time limits if the respondent objected to them looking into the merits of the complaint based on these grounds. However, following the publication of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Directive 2013/11/EU, the FOS and the FCA consulted jointly on changes to the DISP rules to implement the ADR Directive, and subsequently changed the approach the FOS can take on complaints brought outside of these time limits.

ADR Directive—what changed?

Although it is required that a qualified ADR entity is available for any dispute concerning contractual obligations between a