Complaints – an ever-evolving topic


Perhaps like me you’ve been queuing to get into supermarkets recently? The other day while doing this - despite my 2 metres distance! - I overheard a myth about complaints in financial services. A couple were discussing how if you want to complain then “you need somebody to represent you”.

Actually, this is just one of several myths I hear about complaints. Now, hopefully the myth about ‘somebody to represent you’ may be less popular as part of the FCA’s regulation of claims management companies. However, what about some of these other myths: “You’ve got to put complaints in writing” or “You’ll incur a fee if your complaint is considered invalid”. Perhaps you’ve heard these, or some others?

If you want clarification, there’s a formal definition from the FCA of a complaint (available on its website) that people can be pointed to. But put simply, a complaint is:

“Any oral or written expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, from, or on behalf of, a person about the provision of, or failure to provide, a financial service (or claims management service), which alleges that the complainant has suffered financial loss or material inconvenience”.

But whatever improvements are made in understanding what constitutes a complaint, or the handling of them, they will always be there. Every so often the more popular topics people complain about might change. But they will always be there.

A year ago, nearly half the complaints reported to the FCA were about PPI. So, with the deadline for PPI claims now passed, what do you think the new number 1 will be? Current accounts? Motor insurance? Or with the advent of Coronavirus, will it perhaps be something related to investments?

Whatever it is, and whatever your customers raise a complaint about, you can be sure that here at Unicorn (an Access company) we’re dedicated to providing the best training on how to handle complaints. In fact, we’re just releasing an all-improved version of our course on the subject.

Firstly, we’ve changed the title of the course, from ‘Complaint handling and regulated firms’ to ‘How to handle regulated complaints’. This change to a more ‘active’ title then follows through into what happens in the course. We’ve replaced some of the longer activities with short, sharp punchy activities, focused on interactivity to show you how to handle complaints.

While making our improvements, we’ve also taken the opportunity to streamline some of the wording. Other than an increase in the Financial Ombudsman Service limit (from £350,000 to £355,000) there’s no technical changes though. What is said remains the same, it’s just said in what we think is a more engaging way.

Finally, we’ve also enhanced the material to include some top tips on handling complaints. This comes in the form of a video to best illustrate these points.

We hope you’ll agree that the learning experience has been greatly enhanced by the changes we’ve made. So, don’t register a complaint, register on our new course!


The “Complaint handling and regulated firms” pathway and the activities within it are being archived and will no longer be supported, updated or maintained:

  • What kind of complaints are we talking about?
  • Who can complain?
  • How complaints are handled
  • Where else can you take your complaint?
  • Complaint handling and regulated firms – Assessment
  • Complaint handling and regulated firms – Key points

Where users have been registered on to this content, these will remain in users‘ ‘My Activities’ even after archiving. Users will either need to complete them or administrators will need to cancel the registration. Find out how to cancel a user from an activity here

The legacy content will also remain in existing pathways, for example those created and used for induction, until they are removed. Find out about archiving activities here

You may also want to then add the new content to those pathways. Find out how to add content to pathways here

Where learners have already completed these courses, the CPD achieved will remain.

If any assistance is required on any of these actions, please visit Unicorn Help or contact the team here.


David Gristwood

David Gristwood

Senior Learning Designer

David started his career in the financial services sector working for Lloyds, Friends Provident and…

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