MSE backs calls for ‘broken’ ombudsman system to be referred to Law Commission

MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) is backing calls for the ‘broken’ ombudsman system be referred to the Law Commission. Among others, this recommendation comes from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Consumer Protection’s Inquiry(1) into ombudsmen in the UK.

The inquiry follows on from MSE’s report Sharper Teeth: The Consumer Need For Ombudsman Reform which was published in November 2017.

Martin Lewis, founder and chair of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “Ombudsmen should be the gold standard in independent dispute resolution, with the ability to force all players in their sector to comply with rulings. Yet not all ombudsmen are equal. Some are little more than opt-in trade bodies that firms can ignore with impunity, and are about as useful to consumers as a chocolate teapot.

“We exposed these problems in our Sharper Teeth report in 2017, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Consumer Protection has agreed with many of the recommendations we made and asked the Government to refer the whole mess to the Law Commission.

“To be called an ombudsman, you should have the statutory powers needed to enforce decisions and be under proper scrutiny, so consumers have confidence they’ll get a fair hearing. Plus we need to change the antiquated pre-digital rule that means consumers have to wait a ridiculous eight weeks to escalate a problem to an ombudsman after complaining.”

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Notes to editors

(1)    MoneySavingExpert.com has funded the inquiry, however, Wednesday’s report is an independent analysis of the evidence presented to the APPG on Consumer Protection and its findings represent the views of the Group.