MAS now grooming complaints?

Advisers, and others who fund the Money Advice Service will not be best pleased.

With MAS also not hitting the spot with the TSC, I came across by complete accident last week an attempt by the MAS to groom complaints, not quite what one should expect from such an organization is it?

They have a section on ‘Endowment Complaints and it stated the following:

If you feel you were mis-sold your policy you need to put your complaint in soon, because there is a deadline looming.

You have either:

  • six years from when the policy was sold, or
  • three years from when you realised the policy was potentially mis-sold

For many people this latter date is the most important and it coincides with when they received a letter from their endowment provider warning them of an expected shortfall in their policy.

However, if you didn’t fully understand this letter at the time and have only just realised you may have been mis-sold your product, there is still time to put in a complaint. Just make it clear that you are within three years of when you fully understood the situation regarding your endowment and realised it was mis-sold.

This statement was followed with a link to the ‘Which’ website to download a standard complaint letter.

This is very worrying and you would think that the MAS would consult theDISP rules before making such a statement.

The DISP rules are very clear:

The Ombudsman cannot consider a complaint if the complainant refers it to the Financial Ombudsman Service:

(1) more than six months after the date on which the respondent sent the complainant its final response or redress determination; or

(2)  more than:

(a)  six years after the event complained of; or (if later)

(b)  three years from the date on which the complainant became aware (or ought reasonably to have become aware) that he had cause for complaint;


(3) in the view of the Ombudsman, the failure to comply with the time limits in DISP 2.8.2 R or DISP 2.8.7 R4,5 was as a result of exceptional circumstances;


1An example of exceptional circumstances might be where the complainant has been or is incapacitated

Oscar Wilde once said that “Most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes”.

It’s not working here MAS is it?

And it is certainly not fair and reasonable to suggest that by simply saying you did not “fully understand” is sailing very close to the wind in the eyes of many advisers and we are pleased that our research has now resulted in this ‘error’ being corrected.

Grooming a ‘consumer’ to be, shall we say, economical with the truth to obtain pecuniary advantage is simply inappropriate.