Complain To The Company

First discuss your complaint with the person you initially dealt with, whether it's the broker who bought shares for you, the person who sold you an insurance policy, or the counter staff in the building society who arranged to open your share account. If the matter is a simple one it might well be resolved on the spot.

If an immediate solution is not possible but further checking or investigation is required, give the person a chance, and the time they ask for, to investigate. But make clear that you'll expect to hear from them within a specified time, or that you'll be in touch again after a specified time.

If no satisfactory action or explanation results from your initial approaches, gather together all the facts relating to your complaint (including the names of people you've spoken to and when the conversations occurred) and any evidence you have to back it up, and write to the senior person at the firm or branch you're dealing with - this will usually be the manager; if you're not sure who to address your letter to phone up and ask for the name of an appropriate person.

If the manager's response isn't satisfactory, you'll have to take the complaint higher. If you've been dealing with a branch or subsidiary, you should pass your complaint to the firm's head office. The address will almost certainly be printed on any leaflets the firm produces, and may be on any letters you've had from them. Address your letter to the Complaints Department or, if you know that the company comes within the scope of the Financial Services Act, you could address it to the Compliance Officer (who is responsible for seeing that the company operates within the rules of the Act). If you're unsure who to address it to, phone the head office and ask for the name of an appropriate contact. Most libraries keep a directory which will give you the name of the chief executive, managing director or chairman, as well as the address of the company's head office, so write to them if you have no other contact.

TIP - in you complain to someone who was not directly involved in the business under dispute, do so n writing rather than orally. It's helpful to include a brief summary of events giving relevant dates and the names of people you've been dealing with. Don't forget to include any reference or account numbers. It's useful to enclose relevant letters and documents but make sure you send only copies, and keep the originals yourself.

If you've exhausted the company's complaints system and still had no satisfaction, you'll have to step outside the company to seek help. Who you turn to depends on the type of organisation and the type of product or service involved.

Investment Complaints

The virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude. Francis Bacon

The UK now has a fairly rigorous system to protect investors against losing money through bad management or unscrupulous dealing by an investment provider or adviser. But no system can totally protect you: some incompetents may slip through, the really determined fraudster can find ways around the rules, and sometimes perfectly genuine mistakes happen. So there is always the possibility that the investment products that you buy, or the service that you get, will be in some way faulty. For example,... see: Investment Complaints

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