So many of us will have heard of mis-sold PPI. However, not all of us will be aware that financial product providers can mis-sell other products too. Mis-sold savings accounts are something that we all need to be aware of to protect our money. There are many instances where providers have mis-sold their savings accounts to customers. Such actions are not legally allowed. In these cases, customers have the right to make a claim to be compensated due to that mis-selling.
What is savings account mis-selling?
A mis-sold savings account is when a customer has been given misleading information on a savings product. Misleading information can take the form of not fully explaining all the downsides involved. As a result, if the customer went on to open up a savings account on the back of that information, they were mis-sold.
If you are unsure if you have been mis-sold a savings account, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you confused about the risks involved in your savings product?
- If you were sold an ISA, were you told the difference between a Stocks and Shares ISA and a Cash ISA?
- Were you asked about your attitude and ability towards riskier savings accounts?
- Were you asked what you wanted to invest for?
- Were you asked about your situation and circumstances?
- Were you asked about any other investments you have?
It is essential to know that you can still have been mis-sold a savings account even if opening that account made you money. That account may well have been far riskier than you realised, which may not have been at a risk level you wanted to take. However, conversely, a savings account may not be mis-sold just because it did not perform as well as you had hoped. If you were told everything you needed to know about it, it was not mis-sold.
What to do if you have been mis-sold a savings account
There are several steps you need to take to improve your chances of making a successful claim. Therefore, once you have identified that you may have potentially been mis-sold a savings account, you should:
1. Collate records and key data
Collecting and sorting information you have on your savings account is crucial. Gather as much information as possible when you were sold the product and how you were sold the product. Write down what happened in the run-up to being sold your savings account and why you believe an error has been made. It does not have to be extensive or a vast file of paperwork. Just enough to make your point clear and apparent.
2. Approach the provider
In the first instance, when seeking a claim, you should approach your savings account provider. They should have a formal complaints procedure that you will need to follow. Included in the procedure should be details on who to contact. Your provider is required to respond to your complaint within two months or eight weeks.
3. Seek help from the financial ombudsman
If your provider does not respond within that time frame, it is within your rights to approach the financial ombudsman. However, even if they do respond in that time, and you are unsatisfied with their response, you can still approach the financial ombudsman.
The financial ombudsman website is an easy to use service. The ombudsman is an impartial party who looks on each instance or complaint fairly. The service asks you to provide basic information as well as outline what the issue is. Finally, it will ask for identifying data - like the account number of the account you are concerned about.
The service will go on to make recommendations if any are needed. However, it may say that there has been no wrongdoing in the case of the provider. If you disagree, you can ask them to review the case again. However, if the ombudsman still finds no wrongdoing, your final option is to take the matter to court.
Financial ombudsman timescales
Typical timescales for a complaint placed with the financial ombudsman can take some time. However, you should at least be allocated a reference number in a few weeks of your submission. It should be given a case handler within that time, but it can take up to 90 days to provide an initial assessment. You may feel that your circumstances require the complaint to be dealt with more quickly, such as being very unwell. It is possible in such situations to ask for the complaint to be pushed through more urgently.
What happens if my financial advisor is no longer trading?
There may well be cases where the provider you used has stopped trading since you took out one of their savings accounts. In those instances, you can still seek help and make a claim. You will be able to seek compensation if you have been mis-sold through the Financial Services Compensation scheme.
Data collation for the financial ombudsman
Above all, one of the most helpful and vital things you can do when seeking a claim on a mis-sold savings account is to sort it as soon as possible. Moving quickly will help you as you will be more likely to locate supporting records and documentation. It will be those documents that you may have to rely on to prove how your provider mis-sold financial products either knowingly or unknowingly.
Claiming on mis-sold savings accounts
It is imperative to understand your rights when it comes to being mis-sold savings accounts. Claiming compensation through the complaints procedure is there to help prevent mis-selling. In the process, it will also protect people in the future falling victim to such situations. If you think you have been mis-sold a product, you should submit a formal complaint through your provider’s procedure. While it can take some time, especially if you use the financial ombudsman, you have nothing to lose in the process.