What we can and cannot investigate
A complaint may be made by an eligible consumer against a regulated Financial Service Provider once the Complainant has evidenced that they have communicated the complaint to the provider and given it a reasonable opportunity to respond.
An eligible consumer is defined in the Central Bank and Financial Service Authority Act 2004 as follows:
- a customer of the financial service provider
- A customer to whom the financial service provider has offered to provide a financial service, or
- A customer who sought the provision of a financial service from the financial service provider
However there are instances where a complaint cannot be made.
The Ombudsman has the sole discretion in deciding whether to investigate a complaint or not.
A complaint cannot be made in the following instances
A Complaint cannot be made to this office where there is no evidence to indicate that the Complaint has been communicated to the provider and it has been given reasonable opportunity to respond.
Please refer to The Complaint Process section for Timelines.
Where Legal proceedings are /or have been before a Court or Tribunal - Section 57BX(3)(a)
Where the subject matter of the complaint has previously been before a court or is currently before a court or tribunal. Likewise if your complaint has been the subject of an Arbitration or before an Ombudsman’s office in another E.U country, this office shall not investigate it.
Time Limits - Section 57BX(3)(b)
If the conduct complained of occurred more than 6 years before your complaint was made to this office e. g. if you were sold a policy in 2004 and your complaint relates to the manner in which it was sold, this office could not investigate it. The ombudsman has no discretion in this. It is the date the conduct complained of occurred which is the important date; it does not matter for the purpose of our assessment when you became aware of it.
Pensions Ombudsman - Section 57BX (2)
If a complaint is more suitable for the office of Pensions Ombudsman it will be referred there. The Pensions Ombudsman investigates and adjudicates on complaints and disputes from individuals about their occupational pension schemes, Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) and Trust RACs where there may be allegations both of maladministration and financial loss. This office on the other hand investigates complaints regarding the mis-selling of personal pensions, additional voluntary contributions (AVC) and Occupational Pensions to individuals only.
Fraud - Section 57BZ (1)(d)
Fraud is a criminal activity. Please be aware that if a Complainant or a Provider alleges fraud has been committed or a potential fraud has occurred this office is not in a position to investigate these types of complaints. These are matters for the Garda Síochána or the Courts.
Please note if a complaint relates to money taken from a bank account by fraudsters (the fraud may have occurred over the phone, online, in a shop or at an ATM) we cannot investigate the fraud itself. We cannot investigate who carried out the fraud, how it was done or look at any sanction against a fraudster whether the person is known to you or not. You should refer this matter to the Garda Síochána.
However we may investigate whether the Provider, in processing the payment from your account, did so correctly and followed the terms and conditions of the account. It is important to be aware the Complainant’s actions will be taken into consideration when we investigate these types of complaints for example we may look to see if the pin codes for bank accounts were kept secure and whether the Complainant followed the terms and conditions of the account.
Sole Discretion - Section 57BX(2)
The Ombudsman may decide, having reviewed the complaint that it is suitable for another forum and he has the sole discretion in this decision.