If things go wrong

Mortgage lenders and advisers have some of the best reputations in the UK financial services industry, but mistakes do sometimes still get made. Here’s what to do if you feel you have a problem.

Making a complaint
Lenders and advisers who are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are obliged to have a formal and free complaints service. If you have recently applied for a mortgage, you will have received a key facts illustration, which gives the details of complaints processes, but if you don’t know who to contact at the company, simply ask someone.

These firms will want to sort out your complaint as soon as possible – the longer a complaint drags on, the more expensive it is for them and the higher the chance of bad publicity.

It’s always best to put your complaint in writing, especially if it is complicated. Make sure your letter includes all the relevant information, but keep it as simple as possible – often writing in bullet points helps make your point more clearly. Typed is better than handwritten, but if you do write by hand, make sure it’s legible.

Include any reference numbers you have – the account number of the product, the reference of any letters, emails or phone calls you have already sent or received and make sure the letter is dated – different firms have different procedures, but all have to respond within a certain period of time and ensuring the letter is dated will help them keep to their commitments.

Be clear and concise. Avoid unnecessary asides or repeating your points. Generally if you’re making a complaint, you know all about the issue but the person reading your letter will usually be new to it – try to look at it from the point of view of someone who is coming to the issue fresh – if it has all the relevant information in it, that should speed up the process.

If you have documents to support your case, send copies – not originals – and reference them correctly in your letter. And keep a copy of your own letter for reference. Using recorded delivery is also recommended.

Regulated companies will have a written procedure for dealing with complaints, and the vast majority are settled this way.