How to make a complaint to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman

Read the full transcript of the video 'How to make a complaint to the FSPO'

Who can complain to the FSPO?

Accounts or policies that are jointly owned

The FSPO recognises and accepts that all owners of an account or policy have rights, entitlements and liabilities, which can be affected by the outcome of a complaint investigation. The FSPO therefore requires all joint policy or account holders to provide their signatures, to confirm that they each consent to the FSPO's complaint investigation processes.

For complaints against financial service providers

You can submit a complaint to the FSPO if you are a consumer, which means:

  1. a private individual - eg a personal policy holder/account holder
or, subject to certain turnover limitations:
  1. a limited company
  2. a Sole Trader
  3. a Trust
  4. a Club
  5. a Charity
  6. a Partnership

and you are:

  • a customer of the financial service provider,
  • a person to whom the provider has offered the service, or
  • a person who has sought a financial service from the provider

You can also make a complaint if you are:

  • a surviving dependant of a consumer
  • a legal personal representative of a deceased consumer
  • a widow, widower or surviving spouse or civil partner of a deceased consumer
  • any person who is contractually entitled to benefit from a long-term financial service
  • an employee or a former employee entitled to benefit from an income continuance plan
  • a consumer who was, in relation to a credit agreement, a customer of the financial service provider in a case where a credit servicing firm undertakes credit servicing in respect of the credit agreement concerned

For complaints against pension providers

You can complain to the FSPO if you believe you have suffered financial loss because of poor administration under your pension scheme. A pension scheme includes:

  • Occupational pension schemes
  • Personal retirement savings accounts (PRSAs)
  • Trust retirement annuity contracts (Trust RACs)

An occupational pension scheme is one associated with employment.

You can make complaint if you are:

  • a member, an external member or a former member of a pension scheme
  • a surviving dependant of a member who has died
  • a person claiming to be a member or a surviving dependant of a member who has died
  • a contributor to a PRSA
  • a personal representative of a member or contributor who has died
  • a widow or widower or surviving spouse or civil partner of a member or contributor who has died.
  • a person with an entitlement under a scheme

Other ombudsman and complaints bodies

This guide was compiled and edited by the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman on behalf of the Ombudsman Association. The publication is a guide to the seven main Ombudsman offices and also lists other complaint handlers in Ireland.
PDF Ombudsman Offices in Ireland
PDF Oifigí Ombudsman in Éirinn

What providers can you complain about?

You can make a complaint against a financial service provider or a pension provider.

What is a financial service provider?

A financial service provider is a business that provides financial services - such as banking, savings, insurance, loans or stockbroking.

Financial service providers include:

  • banks
  • building societies
  • insurance companies
  • credit unions
  • credit intermediaries
  • stockbrokers
  • health insurance companies
  • money lenders
  • bureaux de change
  • hire purchase providers
  • mortgage brokers, insurance brokers and other intermediaries.
  • pawnbroker

To operate in Ireland, most financial service providers must be registered with, or authorised by, the Central Bank of Ireland.

We also accept complaints against certain bodies authorised by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

What is a pension provider?

A pension provider can be an organisation or person(s) involved in the running of your pension scheme.

Pensions providers include:

  • employers who offer occupational pension schemes, PRSAs and Trust RACs
  • trustees, administrators, consultants, managers, insurance companies of occupational pension schemes, PRSAs and Trust RACs
  • government departments or state bodies running pension schemes for their employees

You cannot make a complaint to the FSPO about social welfare pensions. These should be referred to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

How to make a complaint to your provider

Before making a complaint to the FSPO, you should give your provider a chance to sort out the problem. The provider should deal with your complaint through its complaint handling process. This is called an internal dispute resolution process (IDR process).

Contact your provider

You should make your complaint with whoever provided the service or product to you, this could be your bank, insurance company, credit union, money lender etc.

You should speak or write to either the person you usually deal with, or ask for the complaints manager to make a complaint.

What information should you give them?

Make it very clear that you are making a complaint.  Explain your complaint.  Suggest how they should put it right.

Provide detailed information, including:

  • Relevant dates, places and times
  • Details of any phone conversations and meetings (e.g. who was involved, when they took place and what was said)
  • Copies of relevant documents, such as contracts, statements, emails, letters, invoices and receipts.

Be patient and persistent

The provider should deal with your complaint through its complaint handling process. The provider may take up to 40 working days to deal with your complaint.  

When you complain to the provider be persistent. If nothing happens, call the provider to check on the progress of your complaint. 

The provider should fully investigate your complaint. In the majority of cases the provider will resolve your complaint.  If they don’t resolve it, they will issue a final response letter to you.

Final response

A final response should set out what the provider has done to investigate your complaint through its complaint handling process. It should advise you to contact the FSPO as your next step, if you remain unhappy.

The Ombudsman may, in some limited circumstances, investigate a complaint against a financial service provider or a pension provider, before the IDR process is complete. This may occur where the provider concerned has failed to complete the IDR process so as to allow a complaint to be made within the time limits, as set out in the FSPO Act or where the Ombudsman determines that a complaint is of such importance as to warrant waiving the IDR procedure.

FSPO complaint form

If you remain unhappy after receiving your final response letter, you may contact the FSPO. To progress your complaint, we will need:

A: A completed complaint form and

B: A copy of your final response letter.

To submit a complaint form to the FSPO you can:

If you have any difficulty in relation to the above phone us on +353 1 567 7000 or email us on for assistance.

When submitting your complaint form, please submit a copy of your final response letter and any other information you think is relevant to your complaint.
Please only send copies of your information, not the original documents.

If you have having difficulty getting a final response letter from your provider and 40 working days has passed since you made your complaint, or if your provider is not engaging with you, please let us know and we will follow up on the complaint for you.

Please note that it is always open to you to seek independent legal and/or financial advice about your complaint but you do not need to in order to access our services. We deal with all complaints in the same way, whether or not you are represented by a legal or financial adviser. If you choose to use an adviser, we are not responsible for any of your legal or financial expenses. You will need to agree these directly with your adviser.