Financial Bodies That Can Help With Problems
Whether it is a problem with a loan or any other financial dispute it is always useful to know the financial bodies that can help with problems if they do occur. There are plenty of avenues of help available and if you contact the right agencies you will not be charged a fee for any advice or information.
Financial Problems that can occurFinancial errors can always happen and it can be either the lender's or the customer's fault. Computer errors and missed payments can easily occur, which is why it is so important to keep a check on monthly statements. One missed payment can cause havoc with a bank account, and can lead to mounting fees and spiraling interest charges. Another common problem could be Payment Protection Insurance added to a loan without the customer's permission; this problem is occurring more and more when customers apply for loans.
When to Seek HelpWhen a problem does occur then the first point of call should always be with the lender. If the problem was a one off error they should be able to rectify it easily. However, if problems do occur repeatedly then lender's can dig their heels in, and banks are very good at making customers wait months for a decision. If you have approached your lender with a dispute but have found them to be less than helpful then the time may have come to contact the financial bodies that can help with problems of this sort.
Contacting Local OfficesOne of the most useful agencies that can help with any type of consumer problem is the Citizen's Advice Bureau.
They are not strictly a financial agency, but their staff are fully trained to help people with their financial problems including debt advice and the consumer's legal rights when it comes to credit problems.
One of the benefits of contacting the Citizen's Advice office is that their staff can contact lenders on the customer's behalf. They will also be able to send letters to lenders fully explaining the problem and can then contact the customer with follow up details. The customer will not be charged any fee for advice or information from the Citizen's Advice.
Government OfficesThere are a few government regulated offices that are set up specifically to deal with consumer problems relating to credit and loans. These government offices will be able to settle disputes between customers and lenders. Customers should not expect this to be a rapid process; most of these offices deal with thousands of complaints a month. Government financial bodies that can help with problems can be contacted by email, telephone or letter. Before contacting any of these agencies the customer should first have tried to resolve the dispute with the lender.
The Financial OmbudsmanAnyone who has had long disputes with their lenders will have seen the name the Financial Ombudsman (FO) noted in correspondence. The Financial Ombudsman is the office to contact if a customer has grievances, complaints or disputes with lenders regarding loans and credit. The FO has the power to make a judgement on a wide number of financial issues including disputes over mortgages, pensions, and insurance and investment disputes. The FO should be contacted if the customer cannot find any satisfaction after having contact the lender directly.
The Office of Fair TradingThe Office of Fair Trading is an excellent source of information and advice on all sorts of consumer complaints. If you visit their website you will be able to find information on consumer rights pertaining to credit and other financial problems. Their website also gives options on the other avenues of help available. The advice given is clear and easy to use, and they should be contacted first for information on consumer credit problems and consumer rights. The Financial Ombudsman and the Office of Fair Trading will not charge for any advice or information they give out, and all contact is confidential.
If you are having problems with loans or any other financial disputes then it is always better to have a trained professional on your side. They will be more aware of consumer rights and will have experience in dealing with these matters. You should never have to pay for this type of advice, and always be wary of any advice agency that does try and charge a fee.