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Consumer Rights.

Is there a mis-sold endowment policy complaint deadline?

If you want to complain about a mis-sold endowment and you're within the stated time limits for complaining, here's what you should do.
Which?Editorial team

1 Put your complaint in writing 

You should complain in writing to the firm that employed the adviser who sold you your endowment. 

It's a good idea to send your complaint by recorded delivery so that you can track it and confirm receipt. 

The firm should write to acknowledge receipt of your complaint promptly so if you you haven’t heard anything after a week, you should follow this up with a phone call.

When making your complaint try to pull together as much of your paperwork as you can.  If you can’t find your paperwork, you can request a copy of your endowment file when you make your complaint.

Many firms will ask for more information from you and may ask you to fill in an endowment mortgage questionnaire.

2 Wait eight weeks for a result

Once the firm has received your complaint, it has to investigate it and issue you with a final response letter within eight weeks.

If it upholds your complaint, it'll offer you compensation. 

This isn’t guaranteed to pay off any shortfall you have, but is calculated to ensure you're put back in the position you would have been in had you received suitable advice in the first place.

3 Don't use a CMC

If you use a claims management company (CMC) it's likely to charge you a  hefty fee, without really improving your chances of success. 

Our research uncovered one firm charging as much as 50% of the amount its customers got back from lenders.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has confirmed that using a CMC doesn’t give you any more chance of success than if you complain yourself – which is easier than you think and it's free.

If you must use a CMC make sure you use one that is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and steer clear of any that ask for fees up front. 

You can check if a firm is regulated by going to the FCA.

4 Refer complaint to the FOS 

If you're not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you have the right to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

There is of course, a possibility that both the firm and the Financial Ombudsman Service will reject your complaint. 

But, the complaints process is free so if you strongly believe you were mis-sold your endowment there's no reason you shouldn’t proceed.

As a consumer you can also take your complaint to court, but this can be expensive and it's important to think very carefully before doing this.