How to make a compensation claim

Woman with her head in her handsIf you have lost out as a result of dealings with a financial firm, you will probably want to recoup your losses by claiming some compensation.

It can be hard to get a big company such as a bank to take your complaint seriously, though. So here are our top tips to give your claim the best chance of resulting in a compensation payout.

1. Keep a record
The first step if you believe that you have received unsatisfactory service from a financial company is to approach the bank, card company, loan provider or investment firm involved.

It will help your case if you can provide paperwork supporting your claims, plus details on any calls or meetings that took place.

However, you should always keep extra copies of any relevant paperwork, plus all the correspondence regarding your complaint, at home.

In fact, even if you prefer to deal with the issue over the phone, it is also a good idea to keep a log of any calls made as this can make your case stronger further down the line.

2. Put it in writing
It is more sensible to write to, rather than call, an organisation – again including any relevant account details and reference numbers.

Not only will this allow you to keep track of your case more easily by keeping copies of any correspondence, it will also help should you decide to escalate your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
3. Go to the top
It an be very frustrating dealing with customer service teams, especially if they do not have the clout to deliver the resolution you want.

So, why not make sure that the chief executive of the business in question is aware of your complaint?

You can find the personal email addresses of the chief executives of many of Britain's biggest firms at the website CEO email.

To further improve the chances of success, it is a good idea to include any reference numbers that the business will to need to track down your account and – hopefully – remedy the problem.
4. Be firm
While maintaining a polite tone is important, it is also worth insisting on a reply from the chief executive - or whoever you are writing to - and refusing to have your complaint passed back without a resolution of some kind.
5. Take it further
You have to give a financial firm eight weeks to respond to your complaint.

If you are still dissatisfied after this time has elapsed, however, you can contact the FOS to ask it to look into the matter.

Should it decide in your favour, it can then order the company in question to offer you compensation or a refund.

For complaints to companies outside the financial services sector, you can also escalate ongoing battles by approaching the relevant trade association or regulatory body.

Contact your local Trading Standards Office if you are unsure which body or association you should forward your complaint on to.