08 May 2009

Financial Ombudsman is busier than ever

The latest annual report from Ireland's Financial Services Ombudsman shows that the number of complaints made to his office has increased by over a third last year.
In 2008
Ombudsman Joe Meade (photo) received a total of 5947 complaints.

The indications are that this year will be even busier for him, with complaints in the first quarter of 2009 already up by nearly half on the last quarter of 2008.

The report for 2008 reveals that 4887 cases were resolved, and almost two thirds of which saw the complaint upheld.

There was a 150% increase in the number of complaints concerning investment losses, which rose from 400 in 2007 to 1000 last year.

In total, over € 45 million have been refunded to consumers as a result of the Financial Services Ombudsman's findings since its establishment four years ago.

During a media briefing in Dublin Ombudsman Joe Meade said that he received more than 20 complaints in the past two weeks alone, concerning the amounts of money consumers are being charged to switch from a fixed to a variable mortgage. In some cases people were asked to pay between € 20,000 and € 40,000 to make the switch from a fixed five-year mortgage.

The Financial Services Ombudsman is a statutory officer who deals independently with unresolved complaints from consumers about their individual dealings with all financial service providers. It is a free service to the complainant.

So anyone who is not happy with the way banks and other financial institutions are treating him or her should contact the Ombudsman's office in Dublin and lodge a complaint.
The address is: Financial Services Ombudsman
3rd Floor, Lincoln House
Lincoln Place, Dublin 2

The office is open to the public Mondays to Fridays from 9.30 am to 1 pm, and again from 2 pm to 5 pm. You can contact the office by telephone (+353-1-6620899 or Lo Call 1890 882090), by fax (+353-1-6620890) or by sending an initial e-mail to enquiries@financialombudsman.ie .
The website is http://www.financialombudsman.ie/

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