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ombudsman news

issue 44

March 2005

ask ombudsman news

ordering the ombudsman leaflet

How can my firm get supplies of the ombudsman’s consumer leaflet, and is it true that we can print the leaflet ourselves rather than having to buy copies from you-

Our leaflet your complaint and the ombudsman – which firms are required under the FSA rules to send customers who have a complaint – is available in packs of 25 at £5 per pack (incl p&p).

If you need supplies of our consumer leaflet, you can order them from us online.

Copies are free of charge for public libraries and consumer advice agencies such as Citizens Advice Bureaux and trading standards departments. For help ordering publications, phone our publications orderline on 020 7964 0092.

Yes – it’s true that firms can print the leaflet themselves, under licence, if they wish to do so. We can supply the leaflet in an electronic format – free of charge – enabling firms to get copies printed themselves. The leaflets must be printed using sheet-fed offset litho – it is not an option simply to use an office colour printer.

Firms wishing to print their own supplies must first sign a licence agreement, under which they agree to reproduce the leaflet so that it is identical in every way to the leaflet we produce. Generally speaking, except for the largest financial firms who require very large quantities of the leaflet, it is usually cheaper to buy copies from us.

ombudsman independence the manager of a consumer advice bureau writes ...

Several months ago we advised one of our clients to refer his complaint to you when he was unable to reach agreement with his bank. He has now been back to see us. He is very unhappy that you have written to tell him you do not uphold his complaint. He says he is particularly disappointed because he thinks that, as a consumer champion, you should be supporting ordinary people in their disputes with "big business". We would be interested in your comments.

We are sorry that your client was unhappy with the outcome of his case. However, it is important to stress that we are neither a consumer champion nor an industry trade-body. We are completely independent – just as a judge would be if your client took his case to court.

We look at complaints impartially and make what we believe is a fair and balanced decision, based on the facts and circumstances of the individual case. This may sometimes involve our resolving misunderstandings by reassuring consumers that the firm has treated them fairly, if – as in your client’s case – we believe this to be so.

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news issue 44 [PDF format]

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.